Thursday, November 15, 2012

Breath test of a different sort

Melinda Beck, WSJ, Oct 9, 2012, says some docs are taking a page from ancient times—and smelling people’s breath to get clues to what’s wrong with them.

Liver and kidney problems, in particular, have a signature smell.

Breath tests are painless and take less time than blood tests.

One test can also distinguish between benign and malignant lung nodules.

Actually these tests are done with devices—not the doctor cozying up for a sniff.

Of course, a ton of things are mixed in with breath—besides the proteins, antibodies and other things from your body, there are paint smells, pollution, fibers and other things from around the area.

Some breath tests require taking a substance to see how it breaks down in the body. Others use gas spectronomy like on CSI.

Probably the future lies in creating sensor arrays that “mean” this disease or that one.

Well- they are working on this, anyway.

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