Researchers are using something unique to test for Autism. They say saliva could help with early diagnosis. Caitlin Landers explains the process.

Could the level of protein in a child's saliva be a determining factor as to whether or not that child has autism?

A team of professors and graduate students from Clarkson and SUNY Plattsburgh have been collecting from children already diagnosed and comparing them with the saliva of those who do not have autism.

"It's not that different, it's just the content -- the protein content. We found some proteins which are specifically up-regulated or down-regulated, that means more in one condition versus a different one, and that's what we plan to use," said Clarkson assistant professor of chemistry and biomolecular science Costel Darie. 

In an Autistic child's saliva, some proteins are higher than other children, while other proteins in an Autisitic child's saliva were lower in comparison. Researchers are looking for proven diagnosis options as fast as they can. Autism affects 1 in every 68 children in the U.S., and that number is still going up.

Diagnosis is made based on behavior, not a physical or biological test.

"Psychological test, they are good but it's always subjective. Our tests has to be as objective as it can be, " said Darie.

Which is why the team is focused on creating a biological test with saliva. Researchers say this method could be a tool not just to diagnose children on the Autism spectrum.

"It's also, I think, important for people whose children are already diagnosed with Autism because we might be able to start understanding some of the causes of Autism by identifying important molecules," said Clarkson assistant professor and SUNY Plattsburgh neuropsychology researcher Alisa Woods.

The reasearchers say their findings are important, but they need to validate the research by studying more children before this method could be used.