Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Docs who know their spit

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

Cancer detection within spitting distance
Alzheimer's: To test or not to test
NanoDoctors hold online office hours

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