Sunday, 10 July 2011

Salivary glycoproteome tests: Your diabetes test is now just a spit away

Syed Akbar

Hyderabad: Diabetes test is now just a spit away. Your saliva will predict whether you are prone to diabetes 10 years in advance, and if you are already a diabetic, it will tell you sugar level within seconds. All that you have to do is to put a special strip in the mouth and remove it after some time. The sugar levels in your body will be displayed on the strip instantaneously, just like a thermometer.
Researchers at the city-based Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences have helped develop special biomarkers that will not only predict whether a person will turn diabetic at a later stage in his life, but will
also help diabetics to manage the disease by revealing sugar control in the body within no time.
The new facility, successfully tested in laboratories in India and the USA, will be available in the market shortly. "Unlike blood test, salivary glycoproteome test is non-invasive and painless. It is as accurate as the blood sugar tests. In many cases, the results of salivary glycoproteome tests are more reliable than those obtained through blood tests. Sensitivity and specificity of these tests are superior," said senior endocrinologist Dr PV Rao of NIMS.
Dr Rao, who led the research team, said though the salivary strips for diabetes prediction would take some time for introduction in the market, salivary glycoproteome tests for measuring sugar control would be ready for use by common man in the next few months. "Salivary tests are predictive and diagnostic in nature, besides helping diabetics in the management of the disease. Diabetics will be able to know the progression of the problem," Dr Rao added.
Doctors at NIMS took up the research on saliva as it is almost reflection of what lies in the blood. Study of saliva will inform doctors about the changes or otherwise in the blood. Since blood tests are always invasive involving needles and pain, the NIMS team concentrated on saliva to develop biomarkers for diabetes. Moreover,
storage of saliva is quite easier than blood samples. On an average, a diabetic needs to undergo quite a number of blood tests every year, undergoing pain every time blood samples are collected.
About seven lakh people in twin cities suffer from diabetes and the number is counting. But the city has just 200 diabetologists as against the requirement of 2000 specialists. The salivary tests will help people
know about their blood sugar control in the privacy of their homes. 

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