The study of salivary biomarkers is an exciting research area in the health sciences which offers several advantages over traditional health research. Firstly, the collection of saliva is non-invasive, convenient, and generally easily accepted by patients, including young children and the elderly. As it avoids painful procedures like blood taking, multiple and repeated sampling of biological specimens over a period of time is feasible, and self-collection of samples is possible.
Physiological substances in saliva such as hormones (e.g. cortisol, DHEA) can be assayed, as well as effects on mucosal function and immunity (e.g. immunoglobulins and enzymes) studied. Genetic material is also present in saliva. As such, salivary biomarkers have been used for prediction of disease risk or as longitudinal markers of response to various health interventions. In addition, many toxins and their metabolites are excreted in saliva, and salivary levels can reflect levels in the other body compartments. These include heavy metals or substances such as cotinine (a breakdown product of nicotine), and various other drugs and their metabolites.
The Salivary Biomarkers Multidisciplinary Research Group in UBD was formed in 2012 to conduct research on saliva as an alternative diagnostic fluid for clinical use and bio-behavioral research. Among the projects launched since 2012 are:
Currently, a review of the use of salivary biomarkers for dental caries is being conducted, and new study protocols have been developed for the use of salivary markers to study post partum depression and childhood obesity.
This research group warmly welcomes any researchers interested in using salivary biomarkers in their studies to join us in our work.
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