Sugar, Sugar on my Tongue

Cure fore diabetesWhile the search for a cure for diabetes goes on, new developments in how to diagnose and treat the disease are constantly being researched and studied. Finding a cure for diabetes is quite the lucrative business. A cure would spell the end of agony for millions of people around the world. In the meantime, there is a steady stream of new developments to enhance the quality of life for the diabetic.

The newest wave of methods to make life easier for so many afflicted with diabetes may be some of the most exciting, appreciated discoveries yet. According to an article in USA Today’s Health and Behavior Section, the answer for a painless, cheap method of detecting and monitoring diabetes may be just over the horizon. Mary Brophy Marcus tells the story in her article, “Spit Test Shows Promise In Diagnosing, Monitoring Diabetes”.

According to Marcus, doctors and researchers presented the results of a revolutionary study at the annual meeting of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists on May 15, 2009, in Houston. While the news may not be as widespread as the release of the hottest new CD, for those afflicted with the life-long effects of diabetes, it is more exciting. The study was conducted to test less-invasive methods of detection and monitoring of the disorder. What they found was startling and revolutionary. Now there is the plausible possibility of a saliva test to diagnose and monitor diabetes. This means the patient will not have to prick their fingers for a blood sample. It could also spell the end of torturous glucose tests involving disgusting things to drink and near starvation, commonly used to diagnose gestational diabetes.

These new developments could spell relief, to some degree, for millions and millions of diabetics and pre-diabetics. The saliva test would not negate the necessary means of treatment, such as insulin injections and pills. However, not having to prick one’s finger several times throughout the day would definitely be an improvement in the life of a diabetic. It must be noted there is still much research to be done before any final, definitive answers are found. While the test itself is revolutionary and perhaps life-changing, the realities of science and medicine still apply. The test would not be a flawless indicator of diabetes. The finger-stick test is still the most accurate, albeit with a 10-15% variance rate.

Marcus concludes with a quote by Lillian Lien, the medical director of Inpatient Diabetes Management at Duke University, “The potential is there and any non-invasive method of glucose monitoring would be a great advance in diabetes. However, what is described in the abstract still seems quite preliminary.” In other words, they are still researching and working the bugs and kinks out. Lien notes the saliva test, revolutionary though it may be, is still light years behind the traditional methods of glucose monitoring.

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