New saliva test may detect autism earlier in toddlers

SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR/CNN) - Early diagnosis and intervention can really make a difference when it comes to autism.

A group of researchers in Upstate New York are hopeful a new saliva test aimed at toddlers will help doctors detect autism earlier, “without requiring a thorough behavioral assessment that could take a year and a half to two years to get an appointment to perform,” said Dr. Frank Middleton of SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Middleton has been behind the research since it started six years ago. It’s still ongoing, but the need was so high, the company Quadrant Bio-Sciences released the test last month, giving more children access to it now.

“Our whole goal with Clarify SD is to change the average age of diagnosis for autism spectrum disorder from the fifth year of life to hopefully the second or third year of life,” said Richard Uhling, CEO of Quadrant Biosciences Inc.

“Early detection and early intervention is the deciding factor.” Middleton said.

Middleton said studies show if early intervention is initiated, almost half the children will be indistinguishable from their peers by second grade.

“That doesn’t have to be one that has a downward trajectory. It’s one that with the right support, with the right intervention, with the right behavioral therapies in place can be a very positive one,” he said.

The research is in its final stage of development right now.

Scientists are looking for more children between 18 months and four years old to participate at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse.

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