If you’re over 50, you’re at risk of getting Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA), a disease that causes blindness, strokes and death. But researchers from the Save Sight Institute at the University of Sydney, have discovered a ‘chewing gum’ test that identifies early symptoms of GCA, allowing for successful treatment.
Caused by inflammation of the lining of arteries in the head, GCA symptoms such as headaches and jaw pain are often misdiagnosed, as there could be any number of other reasons for them. But because GCA affects people so quickly, with devastating results, rapid diagnosis is crucial, to prevent blindness, strokes and even death.
Jaw pain is a particularly important symptom because it indicates that GCA sufferers are at a higher risk of permanent visual loss. So researchers at the Save Sight Institute, developed a straightforward ‘chewing gum’ test to unmask this tell-tale pain, prompting further investigation with a blood test and an arterial biopsy to confirm diagnosis.
The test has already been used to successfully diagnose two patients in the early stages of GCA, who, if left undiagnosed, would have fallen victim to this serious condition.
It’s life saving developments such as this that are only made possible through universities. That’s why university research funding is crucial if we want to keep Australia clever.
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