Accurate Autism Biomarkers Used for Diagnostics Could Save the U.S. $37B Each Year

May 03, 2021

Substantial Lifespan Cost Savings Occur when ASD is Diagnosed and Treated Early 

According to a new paper published in the journal Autism Research, using accurate biomarkers to detect autism in children at the earliest age possible could save the United States billions of dollars. This new paper hypothesizes that if more preschoolers and toddlers received an early autism diagnosis and obtained referrals to early intervention services, the country would save approximately $37 billion each year in support healthcare and educational costs.  Unfortunately, challenges have existed and continue to exist for screening and diagnosing children with autism. Skyrocketing American autism rates coupled with a relatively small number of specialists trained to diagnose the disorder creates obstacles for at-risk children to receive an evaluation and a possible diagnosis in a timely manner. Diagnosis is possible for children as young as 18 months. However, the average age of autism diagnosis in the United States is over 48 months. The paper’s authors believe that through the adoption of accurate biomarker testing, more prompt diagnoses could be achieved. A timely diagnosis typically leads to early intervention and treatment. The paper utilized two recently researched and published biomarker technologies, a molecular saliva test, and a remote eye-gaze tracking technology. These biomarker tests were chosen due to their scalability and ease of implementation. The paper’s authors estimated that the lifetime societal cost savings for early diagnosis and early intervention in special education, medical and residential care for each child with autism to be close to $580,000. Additionally, they predicted that the country would save annually $13.3 billion in education costs and save $23.8 billion in medical and residential care. Nearly $11.2 billion of those costs would be Medicaid cost savings. 

Original Article 

Original Study Abstract

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