Medical First: Diabetes Breathalyzer

Tuesday, 11 Jun 2013 03:27 PM

By Nick Tate

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Chemists at the University of Pittsburgh have come up with a new device they describe as the world's first diabetes "breathalyzer."
 
The development of the sensor technology, detailed in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, could significantly simplify the diagnosis and monitoring of diabetes through breath analysis alone.

ALERT:
Reverse Type 2 Diabetes. New Strategies Show How.
Currently, diabetes is diagnosed through a series of blood tests in clinical settings, and then patients must monitor their condition daily through expensive, invasive methods — including needle sticks to draw blood to be tested for blood sugar levels.
 
But the new device could provide a new way to diagnose and monitor diabetes more cheaply and easily.
 
"Once patients are diagnosed with diabetes, they have to monitor their condition for the rest of their lives," said Alexander Star, lead investigator of the project and Pitt associate professor of chemistry. "Current monitoring devices are mostly based on blood glucose analysis, so the development of alternative devices that are noninvasive, inexpensive, and provide easy-to-use breath analysis could completely change the paradigm of self-monitoring diabetes."
 
The Pitt team's development is based on the awareness that when blood sugar falls, diabetics often experience a characteristic "fruity" breath odor, reflecting acetone levels. By creating a device that can measure those levels, the team has successfully demonstrated they can be used as biomarkers to diagnose and track the disease.
 
Now, the researchers said, the challenge will be to develop and refine a commercial test that can be used in clinical settings.
 
"Our measurements have excellent detection capabilities," said Star. "If such a sensor could be developed and commercialized, it could transform the way patients with diabetes monitor their glucose levels."

ALERT:
Reverse Type 2 Diabetes. New Strategies Show How.

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