Urine Sample Study

Carrie Allison, John Hunter, Simon Baron-Cohen,

Is there a difference between volatile organic chemicals in the urine of children with and without autism/Asperger syndrome?

Many children with an autism spectrum condition (ASC) diagnosis have gut symptoms. In adults with irritable bowel syndrome, similar symptoms are often associated with abnormal metabolism by the bacteria resident in the intestine. This can be measured by analysing the chemicals subsequently excreted on the breath or in the urine. The aim of this study is to assess the presence or absence of volatile bacterial metabolites in the urine of children with ASC.

Urine samples from affected children and healthy controls will be analysed double blind by gas or liquid chromatography/mass spectroscopy and by chemometric techniques, including primary component analysis, to detect patterns of bacterial metabolites and to see if these differ between children with ASC and healthy controls. The rationale behind this study is that our collaborator, Professor John Hunter, found a very clear difference between a group of children with autism and controls. However, the children with autism were all living in the same residential home. The current pilot study will recruit participants who live in their own homes to investigate if his results generalise to a broader population.

This study has finished recruitment, and we are in the process of analysing the data.

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