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Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for being willing to consider participating in this research. We are here to answer any questions you may have about the procedure as well as how your sample will be used.

Why is this study important?

By finding microRNA particles with higher levels in autistic children, we may be able to diagnose autism at an earlier age and provide earlier services. This study will also help us understand some of the changes that happen in the brain of autistic children.

What are microRNAs?

Just over a decade ago, scientists discovered a new way that cells control the different kinds of proteins that they express. This mechanism involves the synthesis of short strands of ribonucleic acid (RNA) that were given the name microRNA. In humans, there are more than 2,000 different microRNAs. Each of these microRNAs can block the expression of dozens to hundreds of distinct proteins. The specific microRNAs that are found in a biological sample can thus indicate what proteins are being shut off.

Is this a genetic test?

Although the microRNA testing is not a genetic test as defined by FDA or New York state, the microRNAs themselves are products of the genome that regulate gene expression and are present at varying amounts in different tissues and conditions. Thus, measurements of their levels (as is being done in this study) can still be accurately described as "genetic analyses" even if it is not accurate to refer to these measurements as "genetic testing".

How long the test take?

Depends. If your child has already completed the Vineland-II questionnaire and ADOS-II test, your visit will take no more than 20 minutes. If the Vineland-II questionnaire needs to be done, your visit will take approximately one hour. If both Vineland-II and ADOS-II need to be done, your visit will take up to two hours.

How is the saliva sampling done and is it painful?

The saliva is collected using a swab and the procedure is not supposed to cause any suffering at all.

Will I receive a copy of the study test results?

No. This study is only being done for research purposes, so no analyses or findings will be shared with participants.

Is there any cost to me or my insurance company?

There is no cost to you or your insurance company for participating in this research study.

What about parking?

Free parking will be provided if a visit to SUNY Upstate is required.

When will I receive my $25?

We will give you $25 dollars for your participation at the end of the study visit.

What if I start the study but want to stop before it is over?

If you change your mind about participating, you can choose to stop at any time.