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New test ‘could use saliva sample to diagnose asthma’

19th September 2016

Asthma diagnoses could be made possible using a simple saliva sample in future, according to a new study.

A team from Loughborough University and Nottingham City Hospital have created a means of using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis on saliva samples to find metabolic biomarkers of asthma.

It utilises techniques for metabolic profiling of saliva to identify physiological stress from exercise that were previously developed by Loughborough University, with this approach also potentially making it possible to pinpoint the severity and progression of the disease.

Further tests will be needed to verify the effectiveness of this approach but, if it proves successful, it could be used in early asthma diagnosis, as well as part of the ongoing monitoring of patients.

The team believes their method may be more accurate and less burdensome than current approaches, which include lung function tests, as well as blood, urine or sputum analysis.

Professor Colin Creaser from Loughborough University's department of chemistry said: "Unlike other sampling methods, such as expired breath analysis, saliva can be collected by passive drool from the very young to the very old without causing distress."

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