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Risk Prediction

A new spit test to gauge individuals' risk of developing autism is now available in some parts of the US, but USA Today reports that some experts don't think tests like that are yet ready for prime time.

"What they're doing is laudable," Alison Singer, president and founder of the Autism Science Foundation, tells it. "This is where we want to be, we're just not ready to be there yet."

Quadrant Biosciences developed the test, Clarifi ASD, which examines epigenetic biomarkers to determine someone's autism risk. Pennsylvania State University's Steve Hicks, who worked on Clarifi ASD, tells USA Today that the test is meant to provide clinicians added data as they consider a diagnosis based on their clinical observations. Quadrant CEO Richard Uhlig adds that they also hope to push the age of diagnosis earlier. That way, that interventions can be started earlier and have a greater impact.

Paul Carbone, who chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics subcommittee on autism, tells USA Today that biomarkers may someday help assess risk, but that diagnosing autism currently relies on assessments of behavioral and developmental history and other clinical observations.