Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a spectrum of neurological conditions affecting 1 in 59 children in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. While autism is typically diagnosed using practical tests, a company called Quadrant has developed an innovative test that would allow doctors to diagnose children through their saliva.
According to a report CNYCentral.com, Quadrant developed the test in partnership with SUNY Upstate. Richard Uhlig, Quadrant’s CEO, said the goal of the test is to “change the average age of diagnosis from the fifth year of life to hopefully the second or third year of life.” An earlier diagnosis would give children with autism a much-needed head start in receiving the therapeutic and behavioral interventions they need to live a fulfilling and productive life.
The new method functions like a DNA test, with doctors taking a swab of the patient’s cheek. Dr. Frank Middleton, a pioneer of the new test, says he and his colleagues have discovered that saliva is “ a virtual treasure trove of information that had not yet been tapped to inform us about things that are going on in the brain.”
Uhlig believes the saliva test could drastically shorten the 17-month wait time for a child’s autism diagnosis.
“We've committed that our test results could be made available to the ordering clinician within three to six weeks so we think that will add significant evidence to the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder,” Uhlig said, according to CNYCentral’s report.
While the test has been approved in every state except New York, Uhlig expects New York to be included for approval in 2020.