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Simple Breath Test to Detect Diabetes and Monitor Blood Sugars

Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2007

Researchers have developed a simple breath test for detecting Type 1 diabetes, and say that the new non-invasive tool could possibly be an economical method for tracking day-to-day glucose levels. 

At present, Type 1 diabetes or juvenile diabetes is detected by directly drawing a small amount of blood and assessing the amount of glucose it contains.  But it may be possible to sense diabetes on the breath, according to Armstrong Mbi, a graduate student at Mississippi State University.

Mbi and his advisor Chuji Wang have developed a new technique to detect acetone, one of the chemicals whose presence in the lungs rises when blood-sugar levels are high.  The team injected acetone-laden water vapour into a small chamber with mirrors. They then sent an infrared laser sensitive to the acetone into the hollow. By detecting the amount of time it took the light to completely dissolve as it went back and forth between the mirrors, they were able to perceive amounts of acetone to concentrations of 0.45 parts per million by volume (ppmv).

Mbi says that initial tests show that typical diabetics have acetone levels greater than 1.4 ppmv. Based on the new test, they could tell if the person is diabetic or not.

The new technique sounds helpful to Matt Petersen, director of information resources for the American Diabetes Association in Alexandria, Virginia. Current tests are highly accurate but require blood samples.

"Non-invasive techniques are always better. If the technique could be extended to test daily blood-sugar levels, then it would be "extremely interesting," Nature quoted Peterson, as saying.

 

Source: Diabetes In Control

 
 
 
 
 
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