The device may make it easier to quickly test newborns and could open the door to at-home monitoring.
In the Middle Ages, a grim adage sometimes turned up in European folklore and children’s stories: Woe to that child which when kissed on the forehead tastes salty. He is bewitched and soon must die. A salty-headed newborn was a frightful sign of a mysterious illness. The witchcraft diagnosis didn’t hold, of course, but today researchers think that the salty taste warned of the genetic disease we now know as cystic fibrosis.
Cystic fibrosis affects over 30,000 people in the United States, and over 70,000 globally. Mutations in the CFTR gene garble cells’
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