CHICOPEE, Mass (WWLP) - Ongoing research could eventually help families get a better handle on an autism diagnosis.
A recently published report shows a common occurrence among people with autism.
Years of research appear to making strides in the study of autism spectrum disorders or ASDs.
"So what we're trying to do is develop something to essentially confirm the diagnosis," said researcher, Dr. Charles Schwartz.
A recently-published study that was led by Dr. Charles Schwartz and written by Dr. Luigi Boccuto with help from others focused on the way patients with ASDs metabolize an amino acid called tryptophan.
Dr. Charles Schwartz told 22News, "So dark purple means the cell is doing well. It utilized the compound. Light purple means it's not doing well. It's not utilizing the compound. What it seems to relate is people with ASDs - as a group - tend to have less purple."
Dr. Schwartz says knowing this connection can maybe someday help patients and their families get early intervention for ASDs.
"It will help with the early identification of patients high risk for autism, which will allow for whatever intervention exists now or in the future," said Dr. Charles Schwartz.
But researchers say the work is far from over.
"This is still a preliminary stage and we hope that we are going to be able to use these results to develop a screening test for autism," said researcher, Dr. Luigi Boccuto.
Simply knowing there's a connection between tryptophan and patients with ASDs is not enough.
Dr. Luigi Boccuto told 22News, "What we would like to do is investigate the relationship in terms of a causative link, so understanding why is tryptophan abnormal is abnormal in those patients."
Meanwhile they've reached a new starting point to collaborate with even more experts and intensify the search for answers when it comes to autism.
The researchers are still looking for more patients with neuro-developmental problems to take part in the project.