Isn’t it wonderful being able to make a diagnosis from the easiest obtainable specimen? The spit. No puncture, no syringes, just spit, and the diagnosis would be out in no time.
As strange as this may sound, saliva tests have even been around for thousands of years now. Ancient traditional Chinese doctors concluded many years ago that saliva and blood are “brothers” in the body, and that they are from the same source.
It is believed that changes in saliva are important signifiers of the wellness of an individual. The smell and thickness of saliva, as well as person’s perception of saliva, have all been useful symptoms of certain disease states of the body.
In modern times, Spit test is already in use for the detection of HIV, hypogonadism, measles, hepatitis, and many more diseases. However, various researches are ongoing to increase the range of diseases that can be diagnosed through the spit test.
A study and research led by Charles Streckfus, DDS, MA, FAAOM, FAGD, professor of diagnostic sciences at the UTHSC dental branch have shown that some specific proteins markers in human saliva can be identified and quantified to provide an early accurate non-invasive diagnosis of breast cancer. Additional researches are also being conducted to determine whether saliva tests can detect ovarian, endometrial, cervical, head and neck cancers.
Even though many of the researches above and more are focused on identifying the risk of developing cancer from the spit tests, there is a great hope that this will not only be limited to cancers but other diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. It is just a matter of time and great scientific researches before spit diagnosis takes over blood diagnosis. It is, therefore, not a question of possibility but a question of when.
Why Spit Tests Are Better
Apart from the undeniable ease in obtaining a spit sample, a very great advantage over blood test is that it is less painful or not painful at all. No use of needles and patient don’t need to suffer from multiple stabs by healthcare professionals trying to find a suitable vein.
Another possible advantage of a spit test over a blood test is that it is less expensive. There is no need to extract a specimen or procure materials needed for obtaining the blood.
And even though the spit test has many advantages over a blood test, there is this fact that blood may have higher concentrations of biomarkers than saliva (1,000 to 10,000 times higher). Still, technological advancements are now being used by researchers to view saliva biomarkers with sensitivity even 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than that used for current blood samples, thereby sabotaging the only probable advantage that blood test has over spit test.
Also, the fact that saliva tests are non-invasive may ultimately make them more accurate that invasive tests like a blood test, which involves puncturing veins and causing considerable stress on the patient’s body. Many kinds of research have shown that this may make spit tests have the advantage of causing less interaction with the factor being tested.