Breath Analysis: How Could it Improve Healthcare and Diagnosis?


Sumary of Breath Analysis: How Could it Improve Healthcare and Diagnosis?:

  • Imspex Medical In this interview, News-Medical talks to Santi Dominguez and Michael Graz, CEOs atImspex Diagnostics and Imspex Medical respectively, about the role breath analysis has to play in healthcare and diagnosis..
  • What is breath analysis and where does it fit in the spectrum of detection and diagnosis technologies for medical applications?.
  • Breath analysis has many applications and can be a community-deployable, point-of-care, completely non-invasive way of identifying and controlling many potential health concerns..
  • This is important because our health services at the moment are mainly focused on diagnosis post-symptom onset and, typically, when the symptoms appear, the situation is already quite serious, which means that any interventions will need to be more significant..
  • Breath analysis has the potential to be deployed much more widely in the community because it is non-invasive and it is extremely affordable..
  • It could be used for a general state of health check-up on a regular basis, and that would potentially allow screening for the onset of many more serious diseases..
  • Alternately, breath can be captured, distilled and biosensors used to detect an analyte (for example, a binary agent representing only one specific entity, an antibody or a protein that indicates the presence of a disease)..
  • Exhaled volatiles give a breakdown of a body metabolism in its entirety and therefore paint a ‘whole body picture.’ Knowledge of a healthy or ‘non-perturbed’ space, in turn, allows perturbances to be identified (e.g., indicating infections, burnout, onset of non-transmissible diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer Disease and cancer)..
  • Breath analysis would make diagnosis and treatment a lot more personalized and less of a ‘shotgun approach.’ Breath analysis can reduce the cost of diagnosis by reducing the number of samples that need to be processed by centralized laboratories and allowing them to become more focused on what they test for..
  • Breath analysis would improve the patient experience of sample taking by virtue of the sample taking procedure only requiring a patient to blow into a mouthpiece, followed by results being available quickly..
  • This would give an indication as to whether further testing is necessary and would not take away from existing specific diagnostic measures (such as a full blood count) to be used as required..
  • Diagnosis for tuberculosis is one such application that would benefit from breath analysis as part of the diagnostic toolkit..
  • If the pandemic was not happening at the moment, I do not think we would see this rapid development, not only of breath tests but of technology as a whole..
  • Breath testing is starting to be seen as an application because it is non-invasive, and because of the fact that from a single sample, you can identify a lot of different things, not just a specific disease, but multiple diseases could be detected provided that your instrument is set up to do that..
  • That has been getting traction over the last few years, in part because Ray Kurzweil from Google foresees a future where a person breathes into their bathroom mirror, and it tells them about their state of health..
  • On the basis of the rapidity with which breath testing is now developing, you are likely going to be able to have a device that is small enough to fit in your house, that within a reasonable period will be able to give you an indication of your state of health by 2040-2050..
  • In your opinion, what usability features make breath analysis a preferred method for detecting and/or diagnosing disease conditions?.
  • In the past, for example, there was blood for analysis, urine analysis, and now swabs at the back of the throat, or even anal swabs, as we are seeing in China for COVID..
  • The lack of consumables needed for breath analysis has a primary sustainability impact as well as a second impact which is the lack of supply chain..
  • We have seen, for example, with the Coronavirus pandemic how the supply chain for the consumables for many of these diagnostics can be a real problem when they are needed at a large scale globally..
  • Breath just relies on very easy-to-manufacture mouthpieces, which can be transported in very large amounts by traditional transport methods in traditional standard conditions of room temperature and just normal packaging..
  • With breath, you are getting a culture that has been cultured in a biological system, which is the human that you are diagnosing or looking at..
  • When we have a challenge getting people to diagnosis and screening locations, the fact that we can give a result immediately really increases the chances that we will be able to treat..
  • Often, if we have to get people in for diagnostics and the treatment comes later, that requires a second visit which is not always possible or convenient and which many people skip..
  • There is no reason why a breath analysis system could not be situated on an ambulance or some kind of mobile diagnostic unit that drives around the community..
  • For me, the first feature is that breathing is something we naturally do, and unless you have a very significant pulmonary defect, you will be able to produce a deep breath which should have sufficient markers in it for the diagnosis to be relevant..
  • From a usability perspective, you do not need an entire hospital suite or a specialist that can draw blood or take some bodily fluid;…

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