Coming Soon: Disease Breathalyzer?
New test proves promising in mice
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jan 17, 2013 3:25 PM CST
A handheld breathalyzer is seen in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Smart Start, Inc.)

(Newser) – What if you could diagnose a disease as easily as you could tell whether someone were driving drunk? That possibility is on the table thanks to work from a group of researchers from the University of Vermont, who are working on a breathalyzer test that can detect forms of bacteria, Smithsonian Magazine reports. According to a newly published paper, the device has been successful in detecting Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus in mice.

Researchers theorized that these lung infections would give the mice unique volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, and they were right—they could not only tell that the mice had a lung infection, but which bacteria had caused it. The technology would be a massive leap forward from current bacterial-detection methods, which take weeks to grow samples harvested from a patient's lungs. "Breath analysis would reduce the time-to-diagnose to just minutes."

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Jan 18, 2013 7:00 AM CST
They've trained dogs to detect cancer, too.
Jan 18, 2013 6:37 AM CST
It is about time.....I could always smell when my sons had strep needs to keep up with mom's...
Jan 18, 2013 2:55 AM CST
Tests that rely on breath analysis do already exist! E.g. helicobacter pylori (bacteria that causes ulcers) infection, lactase-hydrogen breath tests to diagnose lactose intolerance