Detecting Diabetes Without a Needle: The Spit Factor

Friday, May 15, 2009 8:08 am EDT


"Our goal was to characterize proteins in human saliva that may indicate prediabetes and type-2"

Research promoting a painless new method for detecting diabetes, utilizing saliva, was revealed today at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 18th Annual Meeting & Clinical Congress.

While searching for biomarkers that may indicate diabetes, doctors examined the saliva of 40 different patients. Through salivary analysis, they managed to devise a new, “non-invasive” method for detecting diabetes that foregoes the uncomfortable prick of a needle- patients need only to spit into a cup. The spit test could be performed for little cost in a doctor’s office or at a patient’s home.

“Our goal was to characterize proteins in human saliva that may indicate prediabetes and type-2,” said Srinivasa R. Nagalla, MD. “Analysis of these proteins allowed us to develop this new method for screening, detecting and monitoring the diabetic state.”

Through the course of his team’s research, Nagalla estimates that they identified a total of 487 unique proteins, approximately a third of which had not been previously reported in human saliva. Of those, 65 proteins indicated a difference between patients with normal blood glucose levels and those with diabetes.

“This comprehensive protein analysis provides the first global view of potential mechanisms perturbed in diabetic saliva and their utility in detection and monitoring of diabetes,” Dr. Nagalla said.

For more information about diabetes, download the American College of Endocrinology’s (ACE) “Power of Prevention®” Magazine here. The magazine features medical information on prediabetes, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, diabetes complications, and tips on how diabetes patients can best prepare for disaster.

ACE also issued a comprehensive treatment regimen for patients with prediabetes; a condition affecting more than 56 million Americans, which leaves them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular complications. To download these recommendations click here.

A short, one-page bio and high resolution photo of Srinivasa R. Nagalla, MD is available here.

Audio from the press briefing is available online here.

About AACE

AACE is a professional medical organization with more than 6,200 members in the United States and 92 other countries. Founded in 1991, AACE is dedicated to the optimal care of patients with endocrine problems. AACE initiatives inform the public about endocrine disorders. AACE also conducts continuing education programs for clinical endocrinologists, physicians whose advanced, specialized training enables them to be experts in the care of endocrine disease such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, growth hormone deficiency, osteoporosis, cholesterol disorders, hypertension and obesity.

For more information, contact Greg Willis of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists at 904-353-7878 ext. 147.