Last week, researchers published their study, “Diagnosis and Classification of 17 Diseases from 1404 Subjects via Pattern Analysis of Exhaled Molecules,” in the journal American Chemical Society Nano. The study details how a 3D printed device containing a sensor array of carbon nanotubes is used to capture the unique “breathprint” of certain diseases. The amazing new device has already been tested on more than 1,400 patients, and has proven to be as effective as a dog’s nose when it comes to sniffing out certain chemicals. Those chemicals in a patient’s breath, which are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), cause the gold nanoparticles in the breathalyzer to change their resistance, giving doctors a clear indication of whether a patient is ill.
“The inspiration for this device was a dog’s nose because dogs can be trained to recognize the scent of a disease in someone’s breath and distinguish it from a healthy person,” said Professor Hossam Haick, lead author on the study. “Instead of the nose, we have chemical sensors, and instead of the dog’s brain we have a computer algorithm, so we can communicate more about a disease than a dog sniffing it out. The detection rate of close to 90 per cent is the same.”
So while dogs are extremely effective at sniffing out diseases in patients, this 3D printed device can actually discriminate between a number of different diseases, giving doctors a clear readout of what it has picked up from a patient’s breath. At present, the device can detect 17 individual diseases, including chronic kidney failure, two forms of Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, and pre-eclampsia in pregnant women.
Benedict. “3D Printed Breathalyzer Can Diagnose 17 Different Diseases with 86% Accuracy.”3ders.org. N.p., 28 Dec. 2016. Web. 30 Dec. 2016.