Thrive II Preview

This Breathalyzer Can Diagnose 17 Diseases From Just One Breath

Posted by on January 5, 2017 in Sci-Tech, Technology with 0 Comments

From a single breath, researchers can test for 17 different diseases and health conditions that fall into three broad categories: cancerous, inflammatory and neurological diseases. Credit: Nakhleh, M.K. et al. ACS Nano (2016)

By Laura Geggel | Live Science

A single breath into a newfangled breathalyzer is all doctors need to diagnose 17 different diseases, including lung cancer, irritable bowel syndrome and multiple sclerosis, a new study found.

Researchers invited about 1,400 people from five different countries to breathe into the device, which is still in its testing phases. The breathalyzer could identify each person's disease with 86 percent accuracy, the researchers said.

The technology works because “each disease has its own unique breathprint,” the researchers wrote in the study. [10 Crazy New Skills That Robots Picked Up in 2016]

The breathalyzer analyzes microscopic compounds — called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) — to detect each condition. Testing for VOCs isn't a new approach; in 400 B.C., physicians learned that smelling a patient's bodily emissions could help with diagnoses. For instance, doctors used to smell the stools and urine of infant noblemen daily, the researchers said.

But while excrement and other bodily substances, such as blood, contain VOCs, examining exhaled breath is the cheapest, easiest and least invasive way to test for the compounds, the researchers said.

To investigate using breath for diagnosis, the researchers developed a breathalyzer that had two nanolayers, one with carbon and the other without. The carbon-free layer contained modified gold nanoparticles and a network of nanotubes, both of which provide electrical conductivity, the researchers said.

Meanwhile, the carbon layer worked as a sensing layer to hold the exhaled VOCs, the scientists said. When a person breathed into the breathalyzer, that individual's VOCs interacted with the organic sensing layer, which in turn changed the electrical resistance of the inorganic sensors. By measuring this resistance, the researchers could determine which VOCs were present, the scientists said.

There are hundreds of known VOCs in exhaled breath, but the researchers needed only 13 to distinguish among the 17 different diseases. For instance, the VOC nonanal is linked to several disorders, including ovarian cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and breast cancer, whereas the VOC isoprene is associated with chronic liver disease, kidney disease and diabetes, the researchers said.

Because each VOC is tied to several conditions, “These results support our finding that no single VOC can discriminate between different diseases,” the researchers wrote in the study.

Once the breathalyzer was built, researchers administered it to 813 people who were diagnosed with one of the 17 diseases, as well as 591 controls. These were people from the same locations who did not have those diseases. All of the participants were in China, Israel, France, Latvia or the United States, the researchers said.


Tags: , , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

New Title

NOTE: Email is optional. Do NOT enter it if you do NOT want it displayed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use' must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Send this to a friend