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Scientists on cusp of diagnostic saliva testing

Category: Autoimmune Diseases

Scientists on cusp of diagnostic saliva testing The protein content in saliva, which changes as people age, may soon provide an avenue of diagnostic testing for age-related diseases, according to new research.

A study published in the November 6 issue of the Journal of Proteome Research revealed the process that scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California have been taking to develop quick saliva tests to assess a patient's health, HealthDay News reports.

The research team noted previous studies which determined that human saliva contains proteins which are active in fighting disease and in promoting healthy digestion.

By separating healthy women into two age groups, one including 20 to 30-year-olds and the other 55 to 65-year-olds, they identified 293 proteins that differed between the two groups, most of which played a role in the immune system's defense against infection.

The older women were found to have almost twice as many immune-related proteins as those in the younger group.

The researchers commented, "It is critical to take into consideration these normal differences in protein expression when searching for clinically relevant, disease-specific biomarkers."

The National Institutes of Health have previously recommended an array of blood tests, genetic tests and diagnostic imaging technologies to safely screen for infections and diseases before deciding to begin treatment.
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