July 30, 2013
Evidence Of Serious Disease May Be Found Via Saliva Test
Rebekah Eliason for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
A recent study from Malmo University's Faculty of Odontology discovered serious illnesses, such as cancer, leave evidence of their existence in saliva. This new information could lead to future tests that allow for early detection of diseases by using a simple saliva sample.Professor Bjorn Klinge, of the Department of Periodontology said, "An early diagnosis has significant implications for both patients and healthcare."
In previous studies it was discovered mouth and throat disease can be detected through salivary samples. One study also found a saliva sample detected the autoimmune disease Sjogren's Syndrome, which affects four million US adults.
Certain illnesses, such as growth of certain tumors, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, contain an inflammatory component. Klinge and his colleagues have shown diseases with the inflammatory element possibly leave traces of it in saliva.
Klinge explained, "We have successfully linked the secretion of substances in patient saliva to these illnesses." He also described how this important discovery could have a monumental effect on the future of medical examinations. "Instead of having to visit the doctor, patients will be able to swab the inside of their mouth with a cotton bud and send it away for analysis. If the test shows signs of illness, the patient will be called in to a doctor."
Not only would this new method save time and money for patients and doctors alike, the ease of the process would allow many more people to perform a preliminary medical exam themselves.
Klinge noted, "We will be able to reach parts of the population that we haven't reached before, and that will increase our chances of detecting illnesses at an early stage."
The study was performed on 500 people living in Skane, which is the southernmost province in Sweden. Participants were asked to leave a saliva sample and fill out a questionnaire regarding their health. Saliva samples were then compared to health issues reported in the participants' questionnaires.
Klinge explained the results saying, "Today, we can use a saliva sample to determine whether a patient is suffering from an inflammatory disease, but we can't say if the disease resides within the stomach or joints."
In further research, Klinge and his teammates plan to increase the accuracy of saliva test results. Currently, a study regarding cardiovascular disease and the new testing technique is underway.
Klinge commented on the new study and said, "We hope to find components in the saliva that will show when patients are in the process of developing a cardiovascular disease." It is his belief within the next five years, saliva tests may be a normal part of medical examinations.