Salivary enzyme plays a part in autism spectrum disorder

University of Kansas researchers have found a larger resting pupil size and lower levels of a salivary enzyme associated with the neurotransmitter norepinephrine in children with autism spectrum disorder.

Jul 13th, 2012

University of Kansas researchers have found larger resting pupil size and lower levels of a salivary enzyme associated with the neurotransmitter norepinephrine in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

However, even though the levels of the enzyme, salivary alpha-amylase (sAA), were lower than those of typically developing children in samples taken in the afternoon in the lab, samples taken at home throughout the day showed that sAA levels were higher in general across the day and much less variable for children with ASD.

Collecting sAA levels has the potential for physicians to screen children for ASD much earlier, noninvasively and relatively inexpensively.

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