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article imageHandheld device to detect diabetes

By Tim Sandle     Nov 10, 2016 in Science
Researchers have developed a breathalyzer-like device for the detection of diabetes in people. The device, which analyses the chemical composition of breath, is portable and offers a rapid result.
The new development is part of a series of works designed to diagnose various diseases by analysing the gas that people exhale, as an alternative to needle-stick tests. The new device focuses on diabetes.
The new method is based on the premise that those with diabetes exhale gas that has elevated levels of acetone. The basis of the device is a sensor that can differentiate acetone from the complex mix of other substances found in breath (including an abundance of water, carbon dioxide and methane). The detection of acetone on the breath is referred to as ketoacidosis. In diabetic ketoacidosis, a high concentration of ketone bodies is usually accompanied by insulin deficiency, hyperglycemia and dehydration.
The researchers initially looked at an analytical technique called mass spectrometry, but this did not prove practical or especially portable. Mass spectrometry is an analytical technique that ionizes chemical species and sorts the ions based on their mass to charge ratio.
Instead, Oxford University researchers led by Dr. Robert Peverall devised a handheld device with an adsorbent polymer. The polymer is capable of trapping acetone in exhaled breath. The accuracy of the device is comparable to established tests. Different subjects were tested, and the subjects underwent different physiological tests such as fasting and exercising, and the results proved to be robust.
The concept of a non-invasive and rapid test device is an attractive one. People need to take less time out; those who fear needles are more likely to get tested; and results are provided rapidly; and the test has a high degree of accuracy.
The research has been reported to the journal Analytical Chemistry. The research paper is titled Portable Device for Measuring Breath Acetone Based on Sample Preconcentration and Cavity Enhanced Spectroscopy “.”
More about breathalyzer, Diabetes, acetone, Health
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