Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Nano Technology & Medical Science

3D printed breathalyzer 

A 3D printed breathalyzer that costs as little as $29 to make has been used to “sniff out” 17 different diseases, including Parkinson’s and eight types of cancer. The device uses gold nano particles that react to certain exhaled chemicals, and is claimed to be 86% accurate.

Scientists used a 3D printed breathalyzer to diagnose 1,400 patients from across the world

It certainly seems unscientific when compared to other medical procedures, but smelling a patient’s breath has been an effective form of diagnosis since Ancient Greek times, when famed physician Hippocrates practiced the procedure to determine his patients’ illnesses. Back then, doctors would even go so far as to sniff a patient’s urine or taste their sweat.

The medical world is very different today, but scientists have just discovered a new way of detecting a number of dangerous diseases, using that very old principle of smelling a patient’s breath. Only this time it’s not the doctors that are doing the sniffing, but a $29 3D printed breathalyzer filled with gold nano particles.

Last week, researchers published their study, “Diagnosis and Classification of 17 Diseases from 1404 Subjects via Pattern Analysis of Exhaled Molecules,” in the journal American Chemical Society Nano. The study details how a 3D printed device containing a sensor array of carbon nano tubes is used to capture the unique “breath print” of certain diseases.

The amazing new device has already been tested on more than 1,400 patients, and has proven to be as effective as a dog’s nose when it comes to sniffing out certain chemicals. Those chemicals in a patient’s breath, which are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), cause the goldnanoparticles in the breathalyzer to change their resistance, giving doctors a clear indication of whether a patient is ill.

“The inspiration for this device was a dog’s nose because dogs can be trained to recognize the scent of a disease in someone’s breath and distinguish it from a healthy person,” said Professor Hossam Haick, lead author on the study. “Instead of the nose, we have chemical sensors, and instead of the dog’s brain we have a computer algorithm, so we can communicate more about a disease than a dog sniffing it out. The detection rate of close to 90 per cent is the same.”

So while dogs are extremely effective at sniffing out diseases in patients, this 3D printed device can actually discriminate between a number of different diseases, giving doctors a clear readout of what it has picked up from a patient’s breath. At present, the device can detect 17 individual diseases, including chronic kidney failure, two forms of Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, and pre-eclampsia in pregnant women.

The diseases detectable by the breathalyzer and how they are chemically connected

In addition to those diseases, the 3D printed breathalyzer can also detect cancers. By asking patients to exhale into the device, doctors were able to detect signs of head and neck, lung, bowel, bladder, kidney, prostate, gastric, and ovarian cancer

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