Medical Breathalyzer Tracks Disease

Breakthrough technique uses lasers to test for biomarkers of illness
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2008 2:19 PM CST

(Newser) – Diagnosing diseases such as asthma and cancer may become quicker and easier thanks to a new device that analyzes a patient's breath. By shooting lasers as the gas molecules in a person's breath, doctors will be able to analyze the composition of the gas and search for biological markers of disease, reports the Rocky Mountain News.

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Levels of certain compounds can indicate diseases and conditions; for instance, analysis detected five times the normal level of carbon monoxide in the breath of a smoker. "The new technique has the potential to be low-cost, rapid and reliable, and is sensitive enough to detect a much wider array of biomarkers all at once for a diverse set of diseases," the lead researcher tells the Boulder Daily Camera. (Read more breath stories.)

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