Friday, December 30, 2016

Dammit, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a tricorder!

"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. 
...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."

18 comments:

William said...

If they can do this much with exhaled breath, think of how much more precise and accurate the diagnosis will be if they use flatulence. The VOC anal deserves as much research money as the VOC nonanal.

Sixty Grit said...

And here I thought VOCs only mattered in the paint booth.

deborah said...

William, you weren't on my radar as the one to go for it :)

chickelit said...

Metabolites -- it's what's for breakfast.

Is this handheld GC/MS?

Anyone?

chickelit said...

Skin exudes VOC as well, William.

Think about that one

chickelit said...

I saw the word "breath print" for the first time. In William's analogy, would we have a "fart print"

chickelit said...

I'd better read the damn story...

ndspinelli said...

Interesting piece. I had a mentor who was a mechanical engineer. However, after building stuff, he became fascinated at why stuff built by engineers failed. He built a career as an expert in civil cases; building collapses, plane crashes, car crashes, etc. This man could think like an engineer but said he found many answers thinking like an artist. Seeing things from different perspectives. He was a man who knew himself. He was an uber introvert and had problems going out and interviewing witnesses. Like him, I'm a real introvert but can be very engaging w/ people. It does drain my batteries. So, I was his investigator. He trained me on the technical stuff and loved that I could get people to talk, often against their own self interest.

This background is offered because this interesting piece deborah posted reminded me of a pet peeve of my mentor. He said he saw, during his career[he's now dead], scientists becoming myopic. When he started there were many older engineers who looked at things from many perspectives. His generation[born in the 20's], were not creative. Someone was thinking creatively when they came up w/ this breathalyzer. chick has creativity. I know how lonely one can be in his profession w/ a creative mindset. This brilliant engineer simply removed himself from the groupthink tank and built a satisfying and lucrative career as an artist/engineer. Like the Jesuits, he taught me how to think, not what to think.

edutcher said...

Redolent of The Blonde. "You smell sick", "Your color isn't good", "Rour eyes don't look right".

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

And here I thought they had it all figured out with iridology.

bagoh20 said...

"... nonanal is linked to several disorders, including ovarian cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and breast cancer,..."

Homophobic propaganda.

chickelit said...

...whereas the VOC isoprene is associated with chronic liver disease,..

Isoprene is a terpene!

Prost!

ndspinelli said...

bags, LOL!

deborah said...

Introvert here. There's a cute article somewhere, written by an intovert, that uses the line, 'it's not me, it's you.'

Methadras said...

86% accuracy is no where near enough from an FDA 510k/PMA regulatory point of view. This is the type of work and device space that I work in, so i'm always interested in products like this.

deborah said...

Good catch, Meth. But yes, this stuff is so cool. Reminds me of dogs that keep sniffing at their masters' mole, and it turns out to be melanoma.

Methadras said...

Deborah,

There are numerous studies of dogs that can sniff out cancer, the problem is, is that the efficacy studies can't support the standards for a medical diagnosis. It basically takes the dog to signal the owner for the owner to get it checked out. As a diagnostic tool dogs are actually quite sensitive, I wouldn't have an issue with it since dogs are used to sniff out all kinds of things from bodies to drugs and a whole host of other things to very accurate degrees.

ndspinelli said...

deborah, I surmise there are quite a few introverts here.