New Breathalyzer Looks To Diagnose Chronic Diseases


Getting a diagnosis for a chronic illness or disease could soon be as simple as taking a breath.

A new study on the potential breakthrough, published in the latest issue of the journal ACS Nano, analyzed a breathalyzer that can reportedly diagnose 17 different diseases including multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome and cancer. The researchers explained that The breathalyzer analyzes microscopic compounds known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to detect each condition, and that “each disease has its own unique breathprint.”

After building the breathalyzer, researchers tested it on 813 people who were diagnosed with one of the 17 diseases, as well as 591 people who did not have any of these disease. All of the participants were in China, Israel, France, Latvia or the United States.

The scientists then used artificial intelligence to tally up the VOCs in each breath, search a database for diseases showing the same VOC concentration patterns and deliver a diagnosis. They then verified their results with another method that measured the VOCs in each sample.

Although more testing and better accuracy with the device is needed, the study is an encouraging development of the potential future of diagnosing illnesses.

“If it’s made available to doctors, the device could be an affordable, easy-to-use, inexpensive and miniaturized [tool] for personalized screening, diagnosis and follow-up,” the researchers concluded.