Breath test has potential for monitoring diabetes

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 15, 2007

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

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

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn