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UI researchers develop cheap, effective saliva test for bad kidneys

TEAM of researchers at the University of Ibadan have developed an effective and cheap test to help diagnose bad or failed kidneys, a potentially vital tool for identifying acute kidney injury in resource-strapped settings.

Dr Taye Lasisi speaking at the side line of the Research Day 2016 of the College of Medicine, Ibadan, Ibadan stated that the effectiveness of the saliva based test marches that using blood or urine to check for  a bad kidney.

In evaluating the diagnostic potential of saliva, the team which included Dr Yemi Raji and Professor Babatunde Salako, compared the levels of creatinine and urea in blood and saliva of patients with chronic kidney disease in comparison to healthy individuals.

The cross sectional study included 50 patients diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, 50 patients with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis and 49 healthy individuals.

Results of the urea and creatinine levels in blood and saliva samples were similar; given the saliva test in individuals with chronic kidney disease sensitivity and specificity of 98 per cent and 886 per cent, respectively when compared with healthy individuals.

In addition, there was positive correlation between urea and creatinine levels in blood and saliva samples collected before and after in persons undergoing dialysis.

Creatinine is a waste product that comes from the normal wear and tear on muscles of the body. The level of creatinine in the blood rises, if kidney disease progresses.

Considering that the levels of the level of creatinine and urea in the saliva of patients with chronic kidney disease reflects their levels in blood, they indicated the possibility of using saliva as an alternative to blood in the diagnosis and monitoring of chronic kidney disease.

Dr Lasisi, however, stated the need for further collaboration with other experts to develop a test kit that uses saliva to diagnosis and monitoring of chronic kidney disease.

This, she stated, would ensure that the saliva test can be carried out by the bedside instead of taking the sample to the laboratory. Also, no special training or equipment is required for sample collection and storage.

Saliva is a unique body fluid and like blood-based analyses., it has been used to identify individuals with disease and to follow the progress of the affected individual under treatment.

Before now, little was heard of kidney failure as a major kind of everyday illness, but the reverse has become the case in recent times. The increasing burden of chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease presents a challenge for both developed and emerging countries like Nigeria.

Experts have said that 36.8 million Nigerians (23 per cent) are suffering from various stages of kidney disease in Nigeria, means that one in seven Nigerians is suffering from some form of kidney disorder or another.

Causes of chronic kidney diseases are numerous; the most common causes are diabetes mellitus and long-term uncontrolled hypertension. Others include: Polycystic kidney disease, overuse of common drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and paracetamol.