Researchers have proposed that certain biomarkers* could be used to determine the risk level of ASD, to establish a developmental specific intervention; to improve the processes of early diagnosis; or to study treatment response, identifying, for example, individuals with explicit characteristics of pharmacogenetic risk.
Research on biomarkers as risk indicators of ASD is still very limited. From the point of view of early detection and following up of children at risk, the use of biomarkers should be based on knowledge of the response mechanism biomarker, and must follow validation procedures similar to those usually carried out to verify usefulness of behavioral indicators.
Therefore, studies on early detection using biomarkers should provide values for sensitivity, specificity, predictive value, etc. of those biological variables used as risk indicators.
Working together, we will build necessary knowledge for development of biomarker-based technologies for the early detection, diagnosis and follow up of ASD cases.
* Biomarkers are any biological parameter that can be objectively measured and which has the capacity to define the presence of a normal or abnormal biological activity. Biomarkers are used in many areas of health sciences. They are often used, among other purposes, to assess normal biological processes, pathogenic processes, or pharmacologic responses to a therapeutic intervention.
Painting by Elbio Fernández Sara. Person diagnosed of autism.
Strimbu, K., & Tavel, J. A. (2010). What are Biomarkers? Current opinion in HIV and AIDS, 5(6), 463-466. DOI 10.1097/COH.0b013e32833ed177
Ruggeri, B., Sarkans, U., Schumann. G. & Persico, A. M. (2013). Biomarkers in autism spectrum disorder: the old and the new. Psychopharmacology. DOI 10.1007/s00213-013-3290-7.