‘Unique breathprint’: Scientists develop device able to ‘sniff out’ 17 deadly diseases

Disease diagnosis might be taken to the next level with a new device that can detect diseases just by analyzing your breath. This is according to a new noninvasive and inexpensive device that has been developed by an international team of 63 scientists in 14 clinical departments led by Hossam Haick from the Israel Institute of Technology. They have identified a unique “breathprint” for 17 diseases and with astonishing  86% accuracy.

As far back as around 400 B.C., doctors diagnosed some diseases by smelling a patient’s exhaled breath, which contains nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen, and a small amount of more than 100 other volatile chemical components. Relative amounts of these substances vary depending on the state of a person’s health. For example, diabetes creates a sweet breath smell. More recently, several teams of scientists have developed experimental breath analyzers, but most of these instruments focus on one disease, such as diabetes and melanoma, or a few diseases.

Detecting 17 diseases

The researchers developed an array of nanoscale sensors to detect the individual components in thousands of breath samples collected from 1404 patients who were either healthy or had one of 17 different diseases, such as kidney cancer or Parkinson’s disease.

By analyzing the results with artificial intelligence techniques , the team found that each disease produces a unique breathprint, based on differing amounts of 13 organic chemical (VOC) components. They also showed that the presence of one disease would not prevent the detection of others — a prerequisite for developing a practical device to screen and diagnose various diseases. This incredible new technology might have to be explored further until hits the mainstream market but if you want to know more head here.