An “easy, simple and painless” saliva test could become the best way to test children for type 1 diabetes, according to new research.
A Greek study has found that proteins found in saliva can accurately show blood sugar levels in people.
At the moment type 1 diabetes is tested and diagnosed using blood tests, but this procedure can be uncomfortable for young people, particularly small children.
Study co-author Professor Heleni Vastardis from the NKU Athens School of Dentistry, said: “Blood collection through repeated sampling causes discomfort and hinders patients’ compliance. Easy, simple, painless, non-invasive saliva collection is the most attractive diagnostic medium when examining children.”
The research involved studying saliva samples from 36 young people, 12 of whom had type 1 diabetes. People’s saliva can be a good indicator of their overall health, which is why the researchers wanted to investigate how it might help diagnose diabetes.
They were able to identify more than 2,000 different proteins and discovered that participants who had good blood sugar control had saliva samples similar to people who did not have the condition.
Furthermore, proteins commonly linked to inflammation, clotting and blood vessel function were discovered in the saliva samples of those with type 1 diabetes who had higher average blood glucose levels.
Professor Vastardis said: “Salivary diagnostics enable the assessment of asymptomatic diabetic patients and the identification of high-risk patients likely to face diabetic complications. This knowledge may offer access to novel points of intervention.
“We envision that in the near future we will be able to diagnose and monitor therapeutic strategies in diabetes with only a drop of saliva, through ultra-sensitive and highly specific techniques such as the Multiple Reaction Monitoring used in our study as well as real-time, non-invasive, salivary glucose monitoring devices.”
Larger cohorts will be required to further expand upon this research and its implications for future diagnosis tests.
The findings were published in the Frontiers in Physiology journal.

Get our free newsletters

Stay up to date with the latest news, research and breakthroughs.

You May Also Like

Public Health England considers low carb approach for type 2 diabetes

The low carb approach is being considered by the government to be…

Top diabetes professor drafts risk assessment document for frontline COVID-19 staff

The health and wellbeing of frontline NHS staff has been prioritised among…

Twice daily dairy intakes could reduce type 2 diabetes risk

Eating cheese, yoghurt or eggs twice a day could help lower the…