Navigation Links
Scientists using laser light to detect potential diseases via breath samples, says new study
Date:2/18/2008

By blasting a person's breath with laser light, scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado at Boulder have shown that they can detect molecules that may be markers for diseases like asthma or cancer.

While the new technique has yet to be tested in clinical trials, it may someday allow doctors to screen people for certain diseases simply by sampling their breath, according to the research team from JILA, a joint institute of NIST and CU-Boulder. "This technique can give a broad picture of many different molecules in the breath all at once," said Jun Ye, a fellow of JILA and NIST who led the research.

CU-Boulder graduate research assistant Michael Thorpe, Ye, CU-Boulder doctoral student Matthew Kirchner and former CU graduate student David Balslev-Clausen describe the research in a paper that appeared in the Feb. 18 online edition of Optics Express, the free, open-access journal published by the Optical Society of America. Known as optical frequency comb spectroscopy, the technique is powerful enough to sort through all the molecules in human breath and sensitive enough to distinguish rare molecules that may be biomarkers for specific diseases, said Ye.

When breathing, people inhale a complex mixture of gases, including nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapor and traces of other gases like carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide and methane, said Ye, an adjoint professor of physics at CU-Boulder. Exhaled breath contains less oxygen, more carbon dioxide and a rich collection of more than a thousand types of other molecules, most of which are present only in trace amounts.

Just as bad breath can indicate dental problems, excess methylamine may signal liver and kidney disease, ammonia may be a sign of renal failure, elevated acetone levels can indicate diabetes and nitric oxide levels can be used to diagnose asthma, Ye said.

When many breath molecules are detected simultaneously, highly reliable, disease-specific information can be collected, said Ye. Asthma, for example, can be detected much more reliably when carbonyl sulfide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen peroxide are all detected simultaneously with nitric oxide.

While current breath analysis using biomarkers is a noninvasive and low-cost procedure, approaches are limited because the equipment is either not selective enough to detect a diverse set of rare biomarkers or not sensitive enough to detect particular trace amounts of molecules exhaled in human breath, Ye said.

"The new technique has the potential to be low-cost, rapid and reliable, and is sensitive enough to detect a much wider array of biomarkers all at once for a diverse set of diseases," he said.

The optical frequency comb is a very precise laser for measuring different colors, or frequencies, of light, said Ye. Each comb line, or "tooth," is tuned to a distinct frequency of a particular molecule's vibration or rotation, and the entire comb covers a broad spectral range -- much like a rainbow of colors -- that can identify thousands of different molecules.

Laser light can detect and distinguish specific molecules because different molecules vibrate and rotate at certain distinct resonant frequencies that depend on their composition and structure, he said. He likened the concept to different radio stations broadcasting on separate radio frequencies.

The optical frequency comb was developed in the 1990s by Ye's JILA, NIST and CU-Boulder colleague John L. "Jan" Hall and Theodor W. Hnsch of Germany's Max-Planck Institute, who shared the 2005 Nobel Prize in physics with Roy J. Glauber for their work.

Ye's group has pioneered the application of frequency combs to spectroscopy, or the analysis of light emitted or absorbed by matter. The technique allows for many different gases to be detected all at once with high sensitivity through their interaction with light from such "combs," demonstrated by Thorpe, Ye and colleagues in the journal Science, in 2006.

To test the technology, Ye's team had several CU-Boulder volunteer students breath into an optical cavity -- a space between two curved mirrors -- and then directed sets of ultrafast laser pulses into the cavity. As the light pulses ricocheted around the cavity tens of thousands of times, the researchers determined which frequencies of light were absorbed, indicating which molecules -- and their quantities -- were present by the amount of light they absorbed.

Ye and his colleagues detected trace signatures of gases like ammonia, carbon monoxide and methane from the samples of volunteers. In one measurement, they detected carbon monoxide in a student smoker that was five times higher compared to a nonsmoking student, Ye said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jun Ye
jun.ye@colorado.edu
303-735-3171
University of Colorado at Boulder
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists move towards stem cell therapy trials to mend shattered bones
2. U-M scientists develop tool to probe role of oxidative stress in aging, disease
3. Scientists Show Stem Cells Dont Cause Cancer
4. Microbial cheaters help scientists ID social genes
5. Scientists solve structure of gene regulator that plays key role in cancer
6. VEGF Neutralization Can Damage Brain Vessels, Say Schepens Eye Research Institute Scientists
7. VEGF neutralization can damage brain vessels, say Schepens Eye Research Institute scientists
8. Precious Time - Scientists discover how long heart failure patients can expect to live
9. UCLA stem cell scientists reprogram human skin cells into embryonic stem cells
10. Scientists Reprogram Human Skin Cells Into Embryonic Stem Cells
11. Scientists from Europe, Israel and the US develop robotic rats to aid in rescue missions
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Scientists using laser light to detect potential diseases via breath samples, says new study
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... A revolution is underway. ... ambulance transport experience for the millions of people who require these medical transport ... taxi industry through the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has put forth an ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by Whole Health Supply ... health of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from Chinese herbs that ... Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract and Rehmannia Root ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June ... , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to ... is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice have ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van ... Wellness at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite ... 7th annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone to extreme mood shifts and ... him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If there was a knife on ... say he was going to kill them. If we were driving on the freeway, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Belgium , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the appointment of Dr. Edward Futcher ... a Non-Executive Director, effective June 23, 2016.Dr. Futcher ... and Nominations and Governance Committees.  As a non-executive ... provide independent expertise and strategic counsel to VolitionRx ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Research and Markets ... Market - Forecast to 2022" report to their offering. ... method for the patients with kidney failure, it replaces the ... from the patient,s blood and thus the treatment helps to ... chloride in balance. Increasing number of ESRD ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  In a startling report released today, ... their residents by lacking a comprehensive, proven plan to eliminate prescription ... definitive ranking of how states are tackling the worst drug crisis ... four states – Kentucky , New ... Vermont . Of the 28 failing states, three – ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: