Biological marker found in autistic children

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Researchers at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and USC found a biological marker in autistic children that could lead to personalized therapies, the pediatric hospital’s Saban Research Institute announced today.

Researcher Pat Levitt, director of developmental neurogenetics, measured a blood chemical that indicates oxidative stress levels in autistic children with gastrointestinal disturbances. The commonly co-occurring condition often presents as diarrhea, constipation or reflux.

The elevated amount of oxidative stress in children co-affected with autism and  gastrointestinal disturbances is indicative of metabolic dysfunction and may be an underlying cause of the more severe effects of autism.

“In this study, Levitt has identified a possible biomarker for the severity of autism and medical symptoms in children, a finding that could provide a mechanism to monitor effectiveness of treatment,” according to Dr. Brent Polk, also part of The Saban Research Institute and chief of pediatrics at USC.

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