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Monday, July 30, 2012

Salivary enzyme, pupil size possible biomarkers for autism

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have larger resting pupil size and generally steadier, higher levels of a salivary enzyme linked to the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, according to University of Kansas researchers. The levels of the enzyme, called salivary alpha-amylase (sAA), were lower than those of typically-developing children in samples taken in the afternoon in the lab. However, samples taken at home throughout the day showed that sAA levels were higher in general across the day and far less variable on children with ASD. “What this says is that the autonomic system of children with ASD is always on the same level,” Christa Anderson, assistant research professor, said. “They are in overdrive.”

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