New sensor technology could make it possible to diagnose and monitor diabetes through a breath analysis alone, researchers say.
Diabetes patients often receive their diagnosis after a series of glucose-related blood tests in hospital settings, and then have to monitor their condition daily through expensive, invasive methods.
Even before blood tests are administered, people with diabetes often recognize the condition’s symptoms through their breath acetone—a characteristic “fruity” odor that increases significantly during periods of glucose deficiency. Researchers were interested in this biomarker as a possible diagnostic tool.
“Once patients are diagnosed with diabetes, they have to monitor their condition for the rest of their lives,” says Alexander Star, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh.
“Current monitoring devices are mostly based on blood glucose analysis, so the development of alternative devices that are noninvasive, inexpensive, and provide easy-to-use breath analysis could completely change the paradigm of self-monitoring diabetes.”