Heart disease test within spitting distance
US researchers have come up with a novel microchip-based assay with the potential to help diagnose heart disease and associated inflammatory conditions.
High levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood is a strong risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and it is also associated with inflammatory oral infections.
A salivary test for CRP is attractive because it would be less invasive than current blood-based methods, and also because CRP might be a link between CVD and oral inflammation. However, existing tests are not sensitive enough to detect CRP in saliva.
Now, John McDevitt from the University of Texas at Austin and colleagues have developed a lab-on-a-chip system to detect CRP in saliva. Their system can detect much lower CRP levels than was previously possible. It has also been used to provide direct evidence that chronic periodontal disease may be associated with high CRP levels in saliva.