Saliva samples can reveal serious illnesses

July 31, 2013

Current research at Malmö University's Faculty of Odontology in Sweden shows that cancer and other serious illnesses leave traces of their presence in patients' saliva. In the future, it may be possible to detect serious illnesses in their early stages with the help of a simple saliva test.

"An early diagnosis has significant implications for both patients and healthcare," said Professor Björn Klinge.

Previous studies have shown that illnesses in the mouth and throat can be diagnosed with a saliva sample. Björn Klinge and his research group have now shown that it is also possible that saliva contains traces of other illnesses with an inflammatory component, including for example the growth of certain tumours, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

"We have successfully linked the of substances in patient saliva to these illnesses," said Björn Klinge. This discovery is likely to have great significance for medical examinations in the future. Björn Klinge explained, "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 , the patient will be called in to a doctor."

This would save time and money, both for and patients, but perhaps even more important is that the simplicity of this method would allow a greater number of individuals to conduct a preliminary medical exam. As Björn Klinge added, "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 conducted with a test group of five hundred individuals within Skåne, the southernmost province of Sweden. The left and answered a questionnaire about their health. The analysis of the saliva samples was then compared to the participants' answers on the .

"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," explained Björn Klinge.

The next step is, therefore, to try to increase the accuracy of the saliva sample. A study aimed at cardiovascular disease is already underway.

"We hope to find components in the saliva that will show when patients are in the process of developing a cardiovascular disease," said Björn Klinge. He believes that saliva tests could be part of standard medical examinations within five to ten years.

Explore further: Saliva eyed as alternative to blood for patient testing

Related Stories

Redefining dentistry through 'salivaomics'

October 22, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—Scientists from the UCLA School of Dentistry have been at the vanguard of research on human saliva in recent years, leading the way in the dynamic, emerging field of salivary diagnostics, which seeks to ...

Saliva gland test for Parkinson's shows promise

January 10, 2013

Described as a "big step forward" for research and treatment of Parkinson's disease, new research from Mayo Clinic in Arizona and Banner Sun Health Research Institute suggests that testing a portion of a person's saliva gland ...

Acupuncture may relieve dry mouth, study finds

November 1, 2012

Patients diagnosed with cancer of the head and neck are treated with radiation, which damages their salivary glands, and in turn causes xerostomia, what experts call dry mouth. New research from the United Kingdom suggests ...

Recommended for you

Formaldehyde damages proteins, not just DNA

September 29, 2016

The capacity of formaldehyde, a chemical frequently used in manufactured goods such as automotive parts and wood products, to damage DNA, interfere with cell replication and cause cancer inspired new federal regulations this ...

Synthetic 3D-printed material helps bones regrow

September 28, 2016

A cheap and easy to make synthetic bone material has been shown to stimulate new bone growth when implanted in the spines of rats and a monkey's skull, researchers said Wednesday.

Epigenetic clock predicts life expectancy

September 28, 2016

UCLA geneticist Steve Horvath led a team of 65 scientists in seven countries to record age-related changes to human DNA, calculate biological age and estimate a person's lifespan. A higher biological age—regardless of chronological ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.