Simple saliva test could detect diabetes
Researchers from UCLA say that your saliva contains a wealth of information - which could detect deadly diseases before they've had a chance to fully develop.
A new study found that saliva can contain some of the disease-related molecules that are also present in blood when a person has type 2 diabetes or cancer.
According to Dr. David Wong, senior author of the study, not looking at saliva could mean missing crucial disease markers.
"If we can define the boundaries of molecular targets in saliva, then we can ask what the constituents in saliva are that can mark someone who has pre-diabetes or the early stages of oral cancer or pancreatic cancer - and we can utilize this knowledge for personalized medicine," Dr. Wong said on UCLA's website.
The role of RNA
RNA is a cellular messenger that makes proteins, directing cell function. Based on how it behaves, it can play a role in how cells develop and regulate genes.
Finding these disease-indicating RNA in the mouth is surprising, Wong said, because saliva is rich in enzymes that can break down RNA.
Different types of RNA - in varying size and function - could interact in ways that either protect against disease or enable its development.
In the future, a self-diagnostic saliva test could give patients crucial health information quickly and efficiently.
"This could indicate that wearable gear that informs you whether you have a disease - even before you have any symptoms - is almost here," Wong said.