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Posted: November 07, 2017

Hi-tech nose helps sniff out cancer, 16 other diseases by analyzing breath

A police officer holds up a Breathalyzer device. New technology, similar to a Breathalyzer, from an Israeli research team makes it possible to analyze a person’s breath to diagnose 17 different diseases, including cancer.
Tres Burns/Via Flickr
A police officer holds up a Breathalyzer device. New technology, similar to a Breathalyzer, from an Israeli research team makes it possible to analyze a person’s breath to diagnose 17 different diseases, including cancer.

By Shelby Lin Erdman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

A person’s breath can determine a lot about their overall health, according to researchers. Now a new experimental technology, basically a hi-tech nose that analyzes breath molecules, can help sniff out cancer and other diseases.

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Created in Israel by Hossam Haick, of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, it’s called Na-Nose, and it operates like a Breathalyzer, Haick said.

A patient blows into the device, which then determines the presence of illnesses like Parkinson’s disease, kidney disease and multiple sclerosis, to name a few, with an 86 percent accuracy rate, according to a study published in ACS Nano last year.

The device is actually measuring volatile organic compounds that can be measured in a person’s breath because “each disease has its own unique blueprint,” according to the study.

Haick explained in a YouTube video, according to Medical Daily, that Na-Nose “imitates a human’s or dog’s sense of smell to analyze a patient’s breath,” and can determine “whether the patient is healthy or has a disease.” It can also predict who might be at risk for a certain disease in the future and it can help diagnose the disease earlier, Haick said.

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CNN reported seven companies are working with Haick’s technology to try to create a product that could one day show up in doctors’ offices and make early disease diagnosis routine.


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