Have you ever given much thought to your saliva? If the answer is “Eww no”, you may want to change your way of thinking after reading this blog post. Believe it or not, our spit can tell physicians many things about our health. Here’s a closer look at what that could lead to in terms of diabetes testing supplies.
Researchers working at Qatar’s Weill Cornell Medical College published the results of their latest study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology. The study was designed, in part, to come up with a way to add saliva swabs to the traditional list of diabetes testing supplies. The good news is the researchers were successful in their endeavors.
The way that the test works is simple. The saliva swab gets placed into the person’s mouth first. Afterward, it is removed and tested for the presence of a known biomarker called 1,5-AG. The biomarker has been previously used in blood glucose testing. Now that researchers have found a way to unobtrusively detect its presence in saliva, pre-diabetics may be able to forgo routine blood tests and opt for frequent mouth swabs instead.
Of course, because the breakthrough was just made, you won’t find the swabs among a supply store’s list of at-home diabetes testing supplies just yet. In order to have the swab test done, pre-diabetics will need to visit their primary care physician and request one. At this time, there is no official word on what the saliva tests may cost interested consumers or whether or not companies plan to make them available for home testing applications in the near future.
It is also important to note that the Qatar researchers are not the only ones working on saliva-based diabetes testing supplies-related research either. Purdue University also released preliminary information about a biosensor that can detect glucose in tears as well as saliva in 2012. You can find more information about that development in the August 2012, Vol. 22 issues of the Journal of Advanced Functional Materials.