portable breath analyzer that could someday help doctors diagnose diabetes
noninvasively in the office has been developed. The report appears in the ACS
journal Analytical Chemistry.
examining the hallmarks of diabetes in exhaled breath have shown that elevated
levels of acetone are strongly linked to diabetes. Detecting the concentrations
of any given substance in breath in a simple way, however, is a major
‘The hand-held device with an adsorbent polymer that can trap acetone from exhaled breath, then release it into a cavity where a laser probes its concentration.’
contains a complex mix of compounds, including water, carbon dioxide and
methane that can throw results off. Mass spectrometry can do the job, but it's
not very practical for point-of-care testing. Robert Peverall and colleagues
wanted to fill that void.
researchers created a hand-held device with an adsorbent polymer that can trap
acetone from exhaled breath, then release it into a cavity where a laser probes
its concentration. They tested the accuracy of the device on the breath of
healthy subjects under different conditions, such as after overnight fasting or
exercising, and compared results with mass spectrometry readings.
measurements were a close match and covered a wide range of concentrations,
including those that would suggest a patient has undiagnosed type-1 diabetes,
or has problems controlling their blood glucose. Adding to the practicality of
the device, the researchers say it could be re-used many times.