Friday, May 23, 2008

Every Breath You Take

In the news.
A breath might soon foretell disease
BOULDER, Colo. (UPI) -- U.S. scientists have created a technique that analyzes a person's breath to detect trace compounds that might provide early warning signs of disease.
A team led by Jun Ye, a physicist at JILA -- a joint facility of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado at Boulder -- demonstrated the optical technique for simultaneously identifying tiny amounts of a broad range of molecules in the breath, potentially enabling a fast, low-cost screening tool for disease.
"It is exciting to imagine the potential of analyzing all major biomarkers in one's breath at once," said Ye. "For example, nitric oxide can indicate asthma but it also appears in breath with many other lung diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis.
"However," he added, "if we simultaneously monitor nitric oxide, carbon monoxide, hydro-peroxide, nitrites, nitrates, pentane and ethane, all important biomarkers for asthma, we can be much more certain for a definitive diagnosis of this important disease."
The research is reported in the journal Optics Express.


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