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An experimental technology can diagnose diseases by smelling and identifying the chemical content of a person's breath.The researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology developed the Na-Nose tool that is capable of analyzing breath using nanorays.Na-Nose, in its experimental stage, can detect up to 17 different diseases including Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, kidney failure, cancers, and multiple sclerosis with an accuracy rate of 86 percent.
"I would say our technology in many cases (is) equivalent to the accuracy of the currently available invasive technology," said Hossam Haick at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Russell Berrie Nanotechnology at Technion-IIT.
The inspiration behind the device stems from each of us having a unique chemical fingerprint and that each disorder has its own chemical signature.The chemical signature produced by a specific illness can be detected in your breath.The components of the device consist of a sensor chamber with a breathing tube, and software that is able to identify the disease's chemistry and interpret the impact on a person's usual chemical fingerprint.Because the technology only requires the person's breath, it is noninvasive and simpler compared with standard tests.it is also more accurate than common screening tests like blood tests.
Seven companies have already licensed the research behind the technology.The researchers are hoping that each company will specialize in a different application of the technology, in order to reach the public better.But despite the ancient roots, clinical breath analysis is still in infancy, according to Terence Risby, a professor emeritus at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
The Scent of Diseases
The ability to smell health problems has been given by nature and using scent as a basis for diagnosis is an old technique.Using more than 200 million scent receptors, dogs can sniff out several cancer types like skin, breast, and bladder cancer, narcolepsy or the sudden falling asleep of a person, migraine, low blood sugar, and seizure.Giant pouched rats in Africa can smell tuberculosis in a person's sputum more accurately than a scientist.Ancient civilization also used scent to find any indication of an illness in a person.The ancient Greeks diagnosed people by accessing their breath and urine scent.Thucydides found that people infected with plague produce a very specific scent while Hippocrates documented a disease because of the bad breath and bad-smelling sweat it can cause in a person, according to Dr.Mangilal Agarwal, director of the Integrated Nanosystems Development Institute.
Research for olfactory diagnostics is happening across the globe.Countries including Belgium, England, Italy, and Spain are all working to develop breath tests to screen different diseases.
1.Type 1 Diabetes - A research study in 2014 found a link between the high levels of acetone in breath and ketones in the blood.The findings suggested that clinicians can use the measurement of acetone in the breath to estimate ketones in the blood.
2.Colorectal Cancer - The researchers at the University Aldo Moro of Bari in Italy published a small study in 2012 about the connection between colon cancer and a person's breath.Using the amount of volatile organic compounds in the participants' breath, they found that people with colon cancer have 15 of 58 specific compounds for that disease.The study was able to distinguish healthy people and colon cancer patients with 75-percent accuracy.Photo By Image Point Fr via Shutterstock
3.Lung Cancer - In a research by the scientists at the University of Latvia, people with lung cancer produce a unique chemical signature and it has been confirmed by an electronic nose-like device.
4.Obesity - Even though obesity can be diagnosed in several ways, people who are obese have been found with unique chemical markers in their breath.A study published in 2013 that people with higher levels of methane and hydrogen in their breath tended to be heavy with a body mass index of 2.4 points which is higher than people with normal gas levels.
5.Lactose Intolerance - In Johns Hopkins Hospital, doctors use breath tests to diagnose lactose intolerance.People with this condition often have high levels of hydrogen in their breath caused by bacteria that fermented undigested lactose from milk.
6.Fructose Intolerance- Doctors at Johns Hopkins also use breath tests to diagnose allergic reactions to fructose in people.Similar to lactose intolerance, the breath test will reveal high levels of hydrogen in breath in people with fructose intolerance.
- About 20 percent of the world's population is particularly appealing to mosquitoes.These insects include body odor in their food preferences.
- Body odor has been linked to humans when finding their romantic partner.Usually, a person is attracted to another who carries a different body odor than their own.
- Your scent changes when you feel fear, stress, and tension.These feelings are detected by animals, particularly dogs, through their noses.
- A rare cancer called an ulcerating tumor produces a very unpleasant odor caused by dead or decaying tissue in the wound.
- Urinary tract infection can be detected by smelling your own urine.Your urine will have a foul odor and a dark-colored hue.