“We were therefore interested to know if techniques for metabolic profiling of saliva to identify physiological stress from exercise – developed by Loughborough – could be applied to asthma diagnosis. “We were very excited to discover that they could.”The findings were published in the journal Analytical Methods.Researchers said further large and long-term studies are needed before the tests can be offered in a clinical setting.If successful, the tests could be used to provide an early diagnosis of asthma, and to monitor patients being treated for the disease, they said. ‘Unlike other sampling methods … saliva can be collected from the very young to the very old without causing distress’Professor Colin Creaser from Loughborough’s Department of Chemistry Earlier this year a study suggested that half a million children who have been diagnosed with asthma may not actually have the condition.More than one million children have been diagnosed with asthma in Britain, but the British Journal of General Practice study suggested more than half may not have the chronic lung condition and could be at risk from the side effects of their medication.Last year the NHS watchdog warned that around one third of ‘asthmatic’ adults showed no clinical signs and had probably been misdiagnosed.Research published earlier this month suggested that a daily dose of Vitamin D could help treat the disease.Dr Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK, said: “There is no single, simple test to diagnose asthma because it is such a complex condition with many different causes which we are yet to fully understand. This research suggests a saliva test could potentially be a simple way to diagnose asthma in the future.”However, this research into saliva tests was carried out with a relatively small group of only 30 people, and it will need testing in much larger numbers before we have a good picture of how effective it could really be in diagnosing asthma.” A simple saliva test could diagnosis asthma and tell doctors how severe condition is, researchers say.Around 5.4 million people currently receive treatment for asthma in the UK, including more than 1 million children.Diagnosis usually means measuring a person’s airflow lung capacity.However, such tests can be inaccurate, while other measures – such as blood, urine and sputum analysis can be distressing, especially for children, experts say.Researchers from Loughborough University say the new test, developed in collaboration with Nottingham City Hospital, could offer a “one stop” diagnosis, which is completely painless. The study collected saliva from 30 patients, with and without asthma.Researchers performed liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis on the samples to find metabolic biomarkers which showed the presence of the disease.They said the sampling methods also had the potential to pinpoint the severity and progression of the disease.Professor Colin Creaser from Loughborough’s Department of Chemistry said: “Unlike other sampling methods, such as expired breath analysis, saliva can be collected by passive drool from the very young to the very old without causing distress.” Children can find current tests for asthma distressing, experts sayCredit:PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.