Israeli scientists have developed a device which could detect and diagnose up to 17 diseases from just a single breath, including some cancer types.
A breath analysis of your health is not a new technique. The method was used for some good thousands of years. Ancient Greek physicians and philosophers were the first to advance such an idea.
Now, a team of researchers has demonstrated the efficiency of the ancient theory. A team of Israeli Institute of Technology scientists has taken to developing a breathalyzer. They were led by Professor Hossam Haick.
Their device is said to be able to detect up to 17 diseases from a single breath. A number of similar devices already exists. However, none of them are able to find as many potential problems.
The Israeli device is based on a Na-Nose. A Na-Nose is an artificially intelligent nanoarray, that was built by them. It is based on a set of specific sensors.
Each helps with the detection of different compounds. For example, one such sensor is made from gold nanoparticles. Another makes use of a carbon nanotubes network.
Such gathered data is then analyzed by an AI system. The AI or artificial intelligence database is made of real-life samples.
The team of scientists tested over 1,400 patients. They gathered more than 2,800 breaths from them. Through these samples, they identified the different types of chemicals found in various diseases.
They found 13 chemicals that can be identified in 8 cancer types and also other diseases. These other include Parkinson’s and Crohn’s disease. The 13 chemicals were also identified in pulmonary hypertension cases, as well as other diseases.
A single breath sample held about 100 volatile compounds. However, these 13 were established as being key elements.
According to the aforementioned lead, these odor signatures are the base behind the technology. Haick stated that such signatures can help identify a disease.
For example, each of the aforementioned 13 chemicals has its own “fingerprint”. More exactly each volatile organic compound amount varies according to the disease. As such, it forms a distinctive fingerprint, individual to a specific disease.
The AI technology behind the device is able to differentiate between fingerprints. In carrying out an analysis, the AI also takes into account certain factors.
A single breath would be enough. However, specific patient data would also be needed. More exactly, their gender, age, and other such factors.
These are some of the elements taken into consideration by the AI system. These are included so as to offer an as accurate as possible diagnostic.
For the moment, the Na-Nose device has had a success rate of about 86 percent. Early trials showed that it can correctly predict a diagnosis in 86 percent of the cases.
However, potential future clinical trials will require a higher accuracy rate. As such, they will need at least a 99 percent successful detection before advancing as a clinically established diagnosing tool.
Still, Professor Haick stated that tests are still being carried out. He also declared that a commercial variant is in the making. For the moment, the scientists are testing a similar device. This will be able to detect influenza or strep throat from a single breath.
Haick also pointed out the device’s potential future. It would be a non-invasive, non-dangerous or unpleasant diagnosis method. The single breath method could be especially used for patients that are not sick yet.
These could either have a higher disease risk or could be doing a control check-up. The Na-Nose or a similar device could become a routine test technology. It might come to help with the potential early detection of some diseases.
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