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Metabolic 'breathalyzer' reveals early signs of disease
Date:2/6/2012

MADISON The future of disease diagnosis may lie in a "breathalyzer"-like technology currently under development at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

New research published online in February in the peer-reviewed journal Metabolism demonstrates a simple but sensitive method that can distinguish normal and disease-state glucose metabolism by a quick assay of blood or exhaled air.

Many diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and infections, alter the body's metabolism in distinctive ways. The new work shows that these biochemical changes can be detected much sooner than typical symptoms would appear even within a few hours offering hope of early disease detection and diagnosis.

"With this methodology, we have advanced methods for tracing metabolic pathways that are perturbed in disease," says senior author Fariba Assadi-Porter, a UW-Madison biochemist and scientist at the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility at Madison. "It's a cheaper, faster, and more sensitive method of diagnosis."

The researchers studied mice with metabolic symptoms similar to those seen in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), an endocrine disorder that can cause a wide range of symptoms including infertility, ovarian cysts, and metabolic dysfunction. PCOS affects approximately 1 in 10 women but currently can only be diagnosed after puberty and by exclusion of all other likely diseases a time-consuming and frustrating process for patients and doctors alike.

"The goal is to find a better way of diagnosing these women early on, before puberty, when the disease can be controlled by medication or exercise and diet, and to prevent these women from getting metabolic syndromes like diabetes, obesity, and associated problems like heart disease," Assadi-Porter says.

The researchers were able to detect distinct metabolic changes in the mice by measuring the isotopic signatures of carbon-containing metabolic byproducts in the bloo
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Contact: Fariba Assadi-Porter
fariba@nmrfam.wisc.edu
608-261-1167
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert

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