A breathalyzer for disease

December 7, 2017

A breathalyzer for disease

Disease and Smell

Did you know that many diseases give off a slight smell that can be detected? Syphilis is thought to have a characteristic odor and a rotting apples smell suggests Diabetes.

Volatile organic compounds are given off, gases for instance, by living organisms, including diseases within you, and give a clue to their existence. When we exhale we breath out carbon dioxide but its been discovered that it also includes up to 100 other compounds, 13 of which were associated with certain diseases.

Scientists have been working on a device that can analyze these chemicals to see what is not right and therefore signal that something is off.

This Canary for illness though has been illusive.

It is certainly a goal worth pursuing. Non invasive, inexpensive and easy to use and there’s the potential to catch things early.

Lucid a breath analyzer from Owlstone Medical based in Cambridge in the UK is undergoing a number of new trials and is recruiting 4000 patients across Europe. This will be for an early detection of lung cancer. Another is being developed by the NHS Trust is looking at detecting early stage colorectal cancer.

The Owlstone device is now generating a high level of interest as its basic technology has been used by the military for many years detecting chemical warfare agents. Human breath though is trickier as everyones is different and the device has to take into consideration the natural variations.

Washington University is also working on one that can detect Malaria. They did a study on 35 children from Malawi some who had malaria and some did not. The test was correct with 29 of the children which is a success rate of 83%.

“It’s clear that if we had fast, easy-to-use, reliable diagnostic devices that both health care providers and families trust, we could reduce unnecessary antibiotic use,” said lead researcher Audrey Odom John, at a TEDxKC talk in 2015.

Real progress on a real modern solution to issues that affect us all.

Apex Office Centers is also a modern solution to small businesses in the Roseville area in California.


~ by John Tomnay. CEO at Apex Office Centers