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New Genetic Autism Test Beats Older Tests

Study Shows CMA Test Is More Accurate Than G-Banded Karyotype or Fragile X

Limits of Autism Testing

Genetic testing can help parents get early intervention, Wu says. And it can help them in family planning, predicting the risk of having another affected child.

But genetics still only explains a minority of autism and ASD cases, Wu says, perhaps up to 15%. CMA can help detect about half of that 15%.

One other obstacle, Hagerman and others say, is that insurance does not always cover the costs. Fees vary, but the CMA alone can cost about $1,200 in California, Hagerman says.

Andy Shih, PhD, a spokesman for Autism Speaks, cautioned in an email to WebMD that "this CMA methodology is not yet ready for commercial application and does not specifically test for autism and therefore is a tool of limited value for concerned parents and families."

He calls for more research on the new test, "especially on how to interpret the findings from CMA relative to autism risk, before it can help families make more informed health care decisions."

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