Autism – could a £5 test ‘prevent’ the disorder?

British scientists have found a simple test that could spot autism early enough for treatment to have bigger impact


Autism could become a so-called “preventable” disorder with the development of a simple urine test by British scientists, reports the Telegraph.


Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) seem to have unusual gut microbes that can be detected with a urine test, researchers from Imperial College London found. The test could possibly see autism detected in babies as young as 6 months. Early diagnosis means full-on behavioural and social treatment could get underway before any permanent psychological damage happens.

“Children with autism have very unusual gut microbes which we can test for before the full blown symptoms of the disease come through.

“If that is the case then it might become a preventable disease,” said Professor Jeremy Nicholson, the author of the study.

The test could reportedly cost as little as £5.

It’s not known what causes autism, but early intense treatment does help lessen the symptoms.


Diagnosing autism is difficult, often only happening once the symptoms develop and a child has began to speak. This means it can remain undetected until the toddler years and until it’s too late for treatment to have the biggest impact.

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