It’s too early to tell but a recent study by Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and the University of Alberta showed promise. Researchers took saliva samples from 12 healthy adults, nine adults with Alzheimer’s disease, and eight with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is often seen as the stage just before dementia.
Researchers looked at over 20 biomarkers or chemical substances in the saliva to see if they could detect a pattern that would differentiate a healthy person from one who had MCI or Alzheimer’s. They found that the specific chemical make-up of the saliva could predict, with a relatively good degree of accuracy, which of these three groups a person fell into. The results showed promise, validating the need to launch a bigger study.
Leading Alzheimer’s researchers like Harvard University’s Rudy Tanzi, believe catching the disease before cognitive symptoms occur could be crucial for successful treatment. Currently the only definitive tests for Alzheimer’s are a PET scan or lumbar puncture, which are incredibly expensive, so a simple saliva test could be a game changer.
Read more about the study here.