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Researchers at the University of Texas have created a new nano-bio-chip which can diagnose a heart attack from just a few drops of saliva.
The device is the size of a credit card and could be used on board an ambulance, in a dentist's office or even at the neighborhood drugstore, the research team suggested.
It produces results in around 15 minutes, which could help to save lives and prevent damage from cardiac disease.
John T McDevitt, principal investigator and designer of the nano-bio-chip, said: "Many heart attack victims, especially women, experience non-specific symptoms and secure medical help too late after permanent damage to the cardiac tissue has occurred."
"Our tests promise to dramatically improve the accuracy and speed of cardiac diagnosis," he added.
The device can test for a number of things, including if a patient is having a heart attack that requires quick treatment, or if they are at risk of having an attack in the future.
Recent research from the American Academy of Periodontology found that people with gum disease are more than twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease that those with healthy mouths, the Arizona Republic reported.
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