Saliva may replace blood as test for disease (By Judy Foreman, Boston Globe Columnist)
- Within two years, you may be able to go for a regular dental visit, spit into a cup and, before your appointment is over, find out from an analysis of your saliva whether you're at risk for oral cancer. Currently, dentists have to do a thorough mouth exam to probe for this disease, which will strike more than 28,000 Americans this year and kill more than 7,000.
Within a few more years, you may be able -- with a fancier spit test -- to find out if you're at risk for a number of other diseases, including breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
If you're among the avant garde, you might even have a tiny chip implanted in your cheek to monitor proteins in saliva such as C-reactive protein, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. The chip could sound an alarm -- maybe a beep, maybe an electronic message to your doctor -- whenever levels of a particular protein drift too high or too low. More here
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