Tag: saliva

This Week in Research: Personalized Cancer Treatment and Stressed-Out Children

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cancer

If you’ve got to get chemotherapy, you might as well get chemotherapy that’s designed precisely for you. No, this isn’t some weird, trendy cancer fad from the fashion industry; it’s actually an innovative new treatment developed by oncologists at Johns Hopkins, who’ve figured out how to personalize chemo drug selection using cell lines created from patients’ own tumors.

This Week in Research: In Praise of Limes and Spit

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Spit. We don’t think about it much — or I don’t, at least — but it turns out to be incredibly helpful stuff, according to the salivary researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.

Think of it this way:  what if instead of collecting your blood, your doctor just had to collect a mouthful of saliva? (Needle-phobes everywhere breathe a sigh of relief.) For one, the researchers found that spit can be used to measure CRP, a standard way to test for cardiovascular problems. This might lead to a convenient home test — no needles! no blood! no hospitals! — to check for cardiovascular risks.

Spit can also be used to measure stress by looking at certain enzymes in saliva — something other researchers are using to measure stress in mothers-to-be. When the body feels psychological distress, the heart pounds faster, adrenaline surges, and — who knew?! — the salivary gland gets stimulated. And since plenty of other research has shown that women’s emotional state during pregnancy effects the development of the fetus, it’s helpful for doctors to be able to measure just how stressed these pregnant women are, as well as how those stress levels are evolving throughout the pregnancy. Thank god for spit.

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