Saturday, June 5, 2010

Urine Test for Autism?

Recent news stories about a urine test for autism caught my attention this week. Many studies have shown that individuals on the autism spectrum have difficulties with digestion. In many cases, although certainly not all, people on the spectrum tend to be very large or very thin. This tendency to cling to the extremes is curiously obvious at most Asperger social groups. Digestive "issues" are pervasive. Many aspies complain about these. I have noticed, for example, that under stress my stomach is easily upset and takes time to return to normal. Others can consume vast quantities of food without gaining a pound of weight for it. Yet others have difficulty losing weight despite diets and medicine. Aspies also tend to be picky eaters, betraying digestive sensitivity.

Researchers have homed in on these digestive problems and now believe they can detect autism, in some cases, with a urine test. Although it sounds ridiculous it just might work. No gene has been identified as "causing" autism and it has been noted that individuals on the autism spectrum almost always have a series of neurological and physical difficulties. The fact that these other problems accompany autism is to me a clue that there is more than one cause. It may be a series of genetic, environmental, and developmental causes that lead to autism. Whatever the case, the prospect of better diagnosis offers an opportunity to improve conditions for those on the spectrum. Perhaps children will not have to be terrorized in kindergarten, as I was, and spend many years suffering from symptoms of a condition they have never even heard of.

The availability of a detection method only underscores the growing need to spread neurodiversity and educate the general public about Asperger's and Autism.

~Isaac Kight, President
The Asperger Society

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