- An electronic nose Moosy 32 eNose can non-invasively detect colon diseases.
- The device can distinguish between patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
- This type of equipment could be available after further research to analyze the digestive system.
The electronic nose that can non-invasively detect colon diseases and distinguish between patients with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The device named Moosy 32 eNose can also tell whether the disease is active, with close to 90 percent accuracy.
It is common nowadays to use invasive tests to diagnose and evaluate inflammatory activity as a result of colon-related illnesses, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, both classified as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
With the developed prototype, scientists want to contribute to the creation of non-invasive diagnosing systems. It is believed that as many as 200,000 people currently suffer from these illnesses in Spain and the rise in incidence continues to increase annually by over three percent.
An electronic nose (e-nose) is a device that identifies the specific components of an odor and analyzes its chemical makeup to identify it. An electronic nose consists of a mechanism for chemical detection, such as an array of electronic sensors, and a mechanism for pattern recognition, such as a neural network.
Electronic noses have been around for several years but have typically been large and expensive. Current research is focused on making the devices smaller, less expensive, and more sensitive. The smallest version, a nose-on-a-chip is a single computer chip containing both the sensors and the processing components.
Detecting Volatile Compounds
The nose can detect volatile organic compounds which act as diagnostic markers or to reveal the intensity level of the disease's activity.
"Volatile organic compounds are created by physiological processes of the human body's metabolism and are expelled as waste through feces," said Pilar Nos, Head of the Digestive System Medicine Department at La Fe Health Investigation Institute in Spain.
The concentration of these components can be a differentiating marker between certain bowel diseases and their accurate detection by way of non-invasive devices such as the electronic nose would be a great step forward for the detection and monitoring of the evolution of these diseases.
The system is being tested for further medical uses, such as detecting prostate cancer. Other studies, with positive results, are also being performed such as detecting the microbial contamination of water or determining the maturity level of fruit, which could have key applications within the agro-food industry.
In the future this type of equipment could be available for digestive system specialists who could, thanks to a simple stool analysis which takes three minutes, determine the state of the patient, according to researchers from Valencia's Polytechnic University in Spain.