The breath of life: International team of scientists develops device that can detect up to 17 different diseases in human breath


Early disease detection greatly increases the chances of survival, sometimes by as much as 70%, specially when dealing with life-threatening conditions.

An international team of researchers has developed a non-invasive device to detect up to 17 different illnesses in a human breath sample.

The idea is hardly new. Hippocrates already theorized about the correlation between breath odors and disease, way back in 400 B.C., for instance.

This new device, which is controlled by an AI program, features a nano-array composed of carbon nanotubes and minuscule gold particles. According to its developers, the program can discern the unique chemical signatures of up to seventeen conditions.

The team, led by researchers from the Israel Institute of Technology, explained that human breath contains over 100 chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It is these VOCs that the new device recognizes and analyzes, as different diseases produce unique chemical signatures in a person’s breath.

A spokesperson for the team said ‘Just as each of us has a unique fingerprint that distinguishes us from others, each disease has a chemical signature that distinguishes it from other diseases and from a normal state of health,’

‘These odor signatures are what enables us to identify the diseases using the technology that we developed.’

Early testing has shown that the device can pick up the chemical markers for chronic kidney failure, two forms of Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, and eight different types of cancer with an 86% accuracy rate.

If commercialized, the new device may replace unpleasant and invasive procedures like biopsies, as breath testing is simple, painless, and can be repeated over and over.

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