Breath test has potential for monitoring diabetes
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 15, 2007
Measuring levels of methyl nitrate and other gases in exhaled breath holds promise as a needle-free way of assessing blood sugar levels in those with diabetes, according to a paper in the Oct. 2 Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences.
Scientists have long been looking for ways to reduce the number of needle-sticks diabetic patients have to carry out per day either in monitoring their disease or administering insulin. To that end, researchers conducted 18 experiments on 10 children who had type 1 diabetes. Exhaled air was analyzed when their blood sugar was normal and when it was high and slowly being lowered. Out of the more than 100 gases detected by volatile organic compound analysis, levels of methyl nitrate most closely paralleled the amount of sugar in the blood.
"While no clinical breath test yet exists for diabetes, this study shows the possibility of noninvasive methods that can help the millions who have this chronic disease," said Pietro Galassetti, MD, PhD, senior author and a researcher with the General Clinical Research Center at the University of California, Irvine.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2007/10/15/hlbf1015.htm.