How to Interpret the Results
The alteration of each of the CBC parameters may be caused by many different conditions. However, from analyzing the blood test results of hundreds of children, we have noticed some common trends. The parameters that are often altered in children with autism and that indicate the role of infection, inflammation, and aberrant immune system, are discussed below:
Complete Blood Count
Almost all children have alterations in their white and red blood cells counts. These changes show inflammation and folate deficiency and point at the presence of chronic infection.
Lymphocyte subset panel
Alterations in the T-cells and B-cells count indicates incompetent immune system and/or presence of infections, chronic inflammation, and the inability to fight infections
Normally, IL-6 is not detected in the blood or is present at low levels. An elevated IL-6 may mean that the person tested has an inflammatory condition. IL-6 is elevated with a variety of conditions and has been associated in some cases with an increased risk of disease development or worsening prognosis.
2. C-reactive protein
The level of CRP in the blood is normally low. A high or increasing amount of CRP in the blood suggests the presence of inflammation but will not identify its location or the cause. In the case of suspected bacterial infection—a high CRP level can provide confirmation that you have a serious bacterial infection.
In chronic inflammatory disease—high levels of CRP suggest a flare-up if you have a chronic inflammatory disease or that treatment has not been effective. If the CRP level is initially elevated and drops, it means that the inflammation or infection is subsiding and/or responding to treatment.
Increased concentrations of TNF-α are found in acute and chronic inflammatory conditions (e.g., trauma, sepsis, infection, rheumatoid arthritis), in which a shift toward a proatherogenic lipid profile and impaired glucose tolerance occurs.
4. Ferritin level
Low serum ferritin sometimes indicates iron deficiency, but also often indicates chronic inflammation. Decreased ferritin level leads to the accumulation of aluminum from the environment in body tissues and organs. This is consistent with the fact that some viral infections result in increased accumulation of the aluminum in tissues and blood
Viral and Bacterial Infections
Although earlier it was thought that IgG antibodies to bacteria and viruses indicate past infections, it is known now that IgG antibodies demonstrate the presence of latent/chronic infection, which reactivates from time to time, while IgM antibodies show current or recent acute infection. It was shown in a study that IgG level can show the severity of the cognitive decline in people whose chronic viral infections affect brain functioning.
1. Elevated red blood cell count (erythrocytosis) is a sign of hypoxia, which may be caused by oxidative stress and of folate-deficiency anemia. As well, an increase is also observed in some chronic infectious diseases.
2. Elevated lymphocyte count (lymphocytosis) may be a sign of chronic herpetic or another viral infection and chronic inflammation.
5. Increased monocyte level (monocytosis) - speaks of a viral infection by the type of mononucleosis (usually caused by a cytomegalovirus or Epstein-Barr virus).
6. The elevated sedimentation rate (ESD) is a sign of infection and anemia. As well, this is a blood test that can reveal inflammatory activity in a child's body. Inflammation can lead to accelerated sedimentation of red blood cells.
7. Another set of parameters you should pay
attention is polycythemia, a condition in which the bone marrow produces too many red blood cells. This condition is determined by an increased number of red blood cells, elevated hematocrit, and elevated hemoglobin. Polycythemia may be primary (due to genetic disorders) or secondary, that is, as a consequence of other disorders. Polycythemia can be the result of chronic inflammation (in patients with polycythemia, proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6, IL -8, and TNF-α). That is, polycythemia is a secondary manifestation of chronic inflammation.
The reference values for each of the parameters may significantly differ, and at some clinics, these values are expanded. This extension may lead to the situation when some of the parameters are considered as normal, while if the assessment was done using more narrow reference values, the signs of infection and inflammation would be noticed.
Below is the table representing how the reference values differ in some countries and in earlier periods of time.
Such uncertainty of the reference values means that the blood test results should always be considered in a complex in order to come to a final conclusion.