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In an ideal world, a medical mystery could be solved with a device that quickly and cheaply takes a noninvasive sample and reports back with whatever condition a patient is suffering from — a real life "Star Trek" medical tricorder of sorts.
Axar.az reports that, perhaps more importantly, diseases could potentially be noticed by such a machine before their full-blown symptoms have spread throughout the body.
That science-fiction idea moves a whole lot closer to reality with the recent development of a disease-detecting breathalyzer, described in a study published December 21 in the journal ACS Nano.
By analyzing a breath sample, the device can identify 17 different diseases, including two types of Parkinson's disease, Crohn's, multiple sclerosis, kidney disease, and cancers including lung cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer.
"One of the major challenges in the modern era of disease diagnosis is how we can detect the disease when we are still feeling healthy," Hossam Haick of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, who led the 56-researcher team that developed the breathalyzer, says in a video describing the work. Haick says the device, which they call the "Na-Nose," is capable of catching a disease in the early stages and may even be able to predict people that are at high risk for certain conditions.
The 86% accuracy rate reported in the study, which tested 1404 sick and healthy patients in 9 locations around the world, is not yet good enough to be used clinically as a diagnostic tool. But this shows very clearly one potential future for early and easy disease diagnosis.
2017.03.05 / 22:19