Markers found in urine can help diagnose autism

Markers found in urine can help diagnose autism
Markers found in urine can help diagnose autism

Biomarkers found in urine samples from people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can help in the development of complementary methods for diagnosing and monitoring the condition. The discovery was made by researchers from the Butantan Institute.

In an article published in Biomarkers Journal, in April 2023, scientists recorded differences found in the total concentration of proteins and amino acids present in the urine of individuals with autism and people without the disorder.

Different approaches have been studied to facilitate the diagnosis of autism and to understand the evolution of patients.

According to the authors of the study, led by researcher Nádia Isaac da Silva, one of the advantages of working with biomarkers in urine is the ease of collection, which can be done at home by parents or individuals.

Changes in the urine of people with autism

Scientists analyzed samples from 44 children aged between 3 and 10. Twenty-two of them were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and the remaining 22 children were neurotypical.

The tests showed changes in the amounts of the amino acids arginine, glycine, leucine, threonine, aspartic acid, alanine, histidine and tyrosine in the urine of children with autism. According to the researchers, the different levels may be related to signs observed in people with ASD.

For example, during fetal formation or in the postnatal period when neurotransmitter receptors are developing, amino acid imbalances can make the brain vulnerable to overstimulation. Another hypothesis is that the changes lead to the development of comorbidities, such as gastrointestinal disorders.

According to researcher Ivo Lebrun, from the Biochemistry and Biophysics Laboratory at Butantan, the imbalance of the intestinal microbiota is a recurring characteristic in patients with autism, which leads to inflammation of the digestive system. This means that some foods, such as dairy products and gluten products, in general, are not well tolerated by them.

“Autism is a highly complex spectrum, influenced by several factors. Likewise, its monitoring must be multidisciplinary: behavioral therapies, psychotherapy and nutrition, for example, are practices that aim to improve and control the condition”, stated the researcher, in a press release. (With information from Agência Fapesp)

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The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Markers urine diagnose autism



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