A Spitting Image of Health

How saliva can help doctors diagnose disease

By Susan Gaidos, 11:38 AM November 3, 2011

Rinse and spit.

Someday soon, doctors may join dentists in issuing these simple instructions. And before leaving the office, you might know whether you’re at risk for oral cancer. Additional tests on that same ptui may reveal whether you show signs of certain other cancers or diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

Saliva — the frothy fluid that helps clean the mouth, digest food and fight tooth decay — carries many of the same proteins and other molecules found in blood and urine. Scie...

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