Skip to content

Autism Spectrum Disorders Health Center

Saliva Test for Autism in the Works

Certain Saliva Compounds Are Different in Some Autistic Children, Italian Scientists Report
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 8, 2009 -- Certain compounds in saliva are different in some children with autism spectrum disorders, a new study shows.

Italian researchers analyzed saliva samples from 27 children with autism spectrum disorders and 23 healthy children of the same age.

The scientists, who included Professor Massimo Castagnola of Rome's Universita Cattolica, focused on small proteins and peptides, which are building blocks of protein, in the saliva samples.

Two-thirds of the children in the autism spectrum disorders group had at least one salivary peptide that differed from children without autism.

It's not clear if autism was the reason for those differences or why those differences weren't seen in all of the autistic children.

Still, analyzing those peptides might help to identify "a considerable subgroup" of people with autism spectrum disorders, and the peptide differences might trace back to the central nervous system, write Castagnola and colleagues.

The researchers note that their saliva test isn't ready for widespread use. First, it needs to be tested in larger groups of people and more needs to be learned about the connection between the peptides and autism.

The study appears in the Journal of Proteome Research.

Today on WebMD

girl at window
Symptoms within the first 2 years of a child’s life.
boy playing a violin
How is this condition similar to autism?
 
toddler blinking
Learn about the 5 types of PDD.
preschool age girl sitting at desk
What causes this rare form of autism?
 
High Functioning Autism And Asperge Syndrome
Article
Gluten Free Diet Slideshow
Article
 
Dealing With Autism A Familys Journey
Article
Vaccine and needle
VIDEO
 
little boy walking in road
Article
Mother hugging teenage son
Article
 
Understanding Rett Syndrome
Article
Home Care Tips
Article