Friday, April 5, 2013

Every Breath You Take: Scientists Begin Measuring 'Breathprints'

Posted By on Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Researchers say that physicians and caregivers should soon begin looking to a new indicator to allow for better diagnoses of illnesses: the so-called "breathprint."

Scientists said using the body's exhalation as a new form of fingerprint could help develop treatment specific to the individual and his or her body chemistry.

Swiss researchers used a technique known as mass spectrometry which separates and tracks the patterns of molecules by measuring their mass. Eleven subjects were tested and researchers found that all had unique molecular structures in their breath. And while some metabolites were similar in all the subjects, other patterns began to emerge.

For instance, some people had more acetone, while another metabolite appeared in someone who was taking epilepsy medication. Scientists said their next step is to better understand patterns in the breath to find illnesses.

The findings were published in PLoS One, the online nonprofit public library of science.

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