Navigation Links
Hunting for autism's chemical clues
Date:7/9/2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- On her laptop computer one recent afternoon, University at Buffalo researcher Charmion Cruickshank calls up a mass spectrometry readout showing the breakdown of chemicals in the urine of a child with autism.

She has similar information for nine other children -- four with the disorder and five without -- and she has spent the past few years sifting through this puzzle of data for autism's chemical clues.

The goal of the research, led by UB chemist Troy Wood, is to pinpoint an array of molecular compounds that appear in distinct amounts in the urine of children with autism. If the team is successful, a biological test for diagnosing the disorder -- so far elusive -- could be within reach.

Such a test would provide clinicians with a more objective way of identifying autism, which is currently diagnosed by observing behavior.

"We're trying to understand, at the molecular level, how autism is occurring and manifesting itself," said Wood, an associate professor of chemistry. "A biological test for autism could assist with early diagnosis, which is critical because if you can identify children with autism early in life, the outcome is going to be better."

Pilot studies in Wood's laboratory have uncovered what may be a number of distinctive chemical traits in the urine of children with autism.

For example, compounds that appeared at depleted levels include the reduced form of glutathione -- a finding that Cruickshank, a UB PhD graduate, outlined in the dissertation she defended this May. Levels of stercobilin, another substance, also seemed abnormally low.

Deficiencies of both of these compounds are an indicator of oxidative stress, which some researchers believe plays a role in autism, Wood said.

To verify these preliminary results, which have not been published in a journal, Wood is hoping to complete a larger, validation study. Such a study would analyze 75 to 100 urine samples from children with autism, and an equal number of urine samples from children in a control group.

Besides stercobilin and reduced glutathione, Wood and his team have also identified a handful of other compounds in the urine that may be correlated with autism. He noted that for a biological test to be reliable, scientists will need to identify not just one or two compounds that are biomarkers for autism, but several.

Cruickshank, now a postdoctoral researcher at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colo., and Zachary Fine, a former UB student who helped process urine samples in Wood's lab, said they hoped their work would eventually lead, one day, to real benefits for children with autism. Both researchers have friends who either had the disorder themselves or had family members with autism.

"The hope is to be able to eliminate some of the subjectiveness in diagnosing autism, and to get a better understanding of what's actually causing it," said Fine, who graduated in May with a bachelor of science in chemistry and is now a quality assurance analyst at Johnson & Johnson. "They're saying that more children have autism today than before, but it's not clear if that's because they're understanding the disease better, or if people are just diagnosing it more."


'/>"/>
Contact: Charlotte Hsu
chsu22@buffalo.edu
716-645-4655
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Research reveals first evidence of hunting by prehistoric Ohioans
2. Striatal brain volume predicts Huntington disease onset
3. A project to research biological and chemical aspects of microalgae to fuel approach
4. Chemical pollution in Europes seas: The monitoring must catch up with the science
5. Genzyme/ACMG Foundation Genetics Training Award in Clinical Biochemical Genetics announced
6. On the safe side: Contact-free analysis of chemical substances
7. Effect of chronic exposure to chemicals used as weapons, pesticides under study
8. Chemical engineers at UMass Amherst find high-yield method of making xylene from biomass
9. Trial launched into curry chemicals cancer-fighting properties
10. Production of chemicals without petroleum
11. The first chemical circuit developed
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Hunting for autism's chemical clues
(Date:6/7/2016)... June 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and San ... relationship that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature ... This collaboration will result in greater convenience for ... union, while maintaining existing document workflow and compliance ... ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... -- Favorable Government Initiatives Coupled With Implementation ... to Boost Global Biometrics System Market Through 2021  ... " Global Biometrics Market By Type, By End ... - 2021", the global biometrics market is projected to ... growing security concerns across various end use sectors such ...
(Date:5/9/2016)... UAE, May 9, 2016 Elevay ... comes to expanding freedom for high net worth professionals ... in today,s globally connected world, there is still no ... could ever duplicate sealing your deal with a firm ... passports by taking advantage of citizenship via investment programs ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Houston Methodist Willowbrook ... Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as their official ... Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, athletic ... with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. ... Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring Houston Methodist ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics hardware design ... Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring together inventors ... and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical representation of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... Hematology Review, 2016;12(1):22-8 http://doi.org/10.17925/OHR.2016.12.01.22 ... , the peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew ... escalating cost of cancer care is placing an ... result of expensive biologic therapies. With the patents ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , June 22, 2016  Amgen ... platinum sponsorship of the QB3@953 life sciences ... improve human health. The shared laboratory space at QB3@953 ... startups overcome a key obstacle for many early stage ... As part of the sponsorship, Amgen launched two "Amgen ...
Breaking Biology Technology: