A new study suggests that its results could lead to a simple test for some children with autism, but statisticians say the test — even if validated — could not be used to screen for autism in the general population.
The study, published Thursday in Biological Psychiatry, says about 17 percent of children with autism have unusual proportions of amino acids — the building blocks of proteins — in their blood1. A test that looks for these molecules correctly identifies nearly 94 percent of this subgroup of children.
However, those results only hold because of the study’s statistical design, experts say. In the general population, the test’s accuracy would be less than 8 percent.