Israeli-U.S. research discovers new autism subtype, associated with high cholesterol

  • World
  • Wednesday, 12 Aug 2020

JERUSALEM, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Israeli and U.S. researchers discovered a subtype of autism, associated with high cholesterol, Ben Gurion University (BGU) in southern Israel said on Tuesday.

BGU researchers, in collaboration with researchers from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northwestern University, analyzed data from millions of children with autism in a study published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Using an artificial intelligence (AI) approach, the team combined healthcare claims, electronic health records, and genetic sequences to find the new autism subtype.

This way, they identified a subgroup of patients with autism associated with dyslipidemia, which is a disorder of lipids metabolism in the blood, such as cholesterol and triglycerides.

It turned out that children with autism are more likely to be diagnosed with dyslipidemia than those without developmental problems.

The researchers also showed that parents with dyslipidemia were more likely to have children with autism, with increased chances of 16 percent (for the mother) and 13 percent (for the father) of having a child with autism.

According to the researchers, these rates are higher than other parental risk factors known for having a child with autism.

"These findings may lead to earlier diagnosis of child autism and to new targeted therapies," the researchers concluded.

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