Autism Research Could Lead To Lab Test

This article, Autism Research Could Lead To Lab Test, is interesting in many aspects. The one that jumped out at me, however, was the implication that autism isn’t something you have, it is something you can get (emphasis below is mine):

The study also might lead to a lab test that could detect if someone is at risk of having autism. Right now, the only way to diagnose autism is through behavior. The discovery that too much of a particular protein in the body linked to autism could lead to a blood test for this disease.

‘If we know that children are at higher risk and we have a way to screen for it, we can certainly intervene much sooner,’ she said.

Just like cancer or heart disease, where some people are more susceptible to “catching” it than others, no matter how much/little environmental influence there is. (I think we all know people who have smoked all their lives and never gotten lung cancer, while there are those who seem to ‘catch’ it for no reason at all.)

Perhaps this is a first step along the way of showing that nature/nurture – genetics/environment link between autism and environmental triggers?

Of course, it also brings up questions of what it means to ‘cure’ autism, or even prevent it. Is a child “at risk” of becoming autistic when they are 6 months old, or are they already autistic but just don’t know it.

I won’t even go into the questions/issues related to pre-natal testing for autism. At least not right now….

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