Syracuse research leads to saliva test, doctors think it could detect autism earlier


SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Changing the outlook of autism, a new saliva test is on the market. The lead researcher at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Dr. Frank Middleton, is hopeful the saliva test will help doctors detect autism earlier.

The average age of an autism diagnosis in the U.S. is five years old, but Dr. Middleton believes it should and could be caught sooner, calling early detection a game-changer.

“We wanted to make a difference by making it possible to diagnose 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. Middleton.

Dr. Middleton has been behind the research for six years. It’s still ongoing, but the need was so high, he says the company Quadrant Biosciences Inc. released the test [Clarify ADS] last month, so children and their families could have access to it now.

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

“Early detection and early intervention is the deciding factor,” said Dr. Middleton. “If early intervention is initiated, studies show almost half the children will be indistinguishable from their peers by second grade.”

An autism diagnosis is never an easy one, but the idea is to give families the right tools to get ahead. “It doesn’t have to be one that is 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,” said Dr. Middleton.

The research is in its final stage of development right now and researchers are looking for more children between 18 months and four years old to be part of the research at Upstate Medical University.

If you think your child may qualify for the study, you can fill out an information form online.

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