New genetic autism test beats older tests

Kathleen Doheny


March 15, 2010 -- A new genetic test for autism, known as chromosomal microarray analysis (CMA), finds more genetic abnormalities than two older tests, a study shows.

''CMA is much better than karyotyping or fragile X testing at detection -- it's at least three times better," Bai-Lin Wu, PhD, medical director of the genetics diagnostic laboratory at Children's Hospital, Boston, and a study co-researcher, tells WebMD.

While the other two tests are now standard practice, Wu and his colleagues say the new test should also be part of the initial diagnostic evaluation of patients when a clinical diagnosis of autism or autism spectrum disorder has been made or is suspected.

The study results are published online in Pediatrics.

Autism, a complex disorder, involves impairments in social interaction as well as deficits in language and communication along with rigid and repetitive behaviors. It affects about one person per 1,000, the researchers write; autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects six per 1,000.

Full article from WebMD here


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