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Multiple Sclerosis Detected by Analysis of Exhaled Breath

By Labmedica International staff writers
Posted on 23 Aug 2012
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A sensor array has been developed that can diagnose multiple sclerosis (MS) from exhaled breath.

Scientists identified volatile organic compounds from exhaled breath that can be associated with MS. Based on these findings they developed a sensor array that can diagnose MS by analyzing the compounds that appear in the breath of MS patients. The cross-reactive array of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and single wall carbon-nanotube bilayers were designed for the detection of volatile organic compounds (hexanal and 5-methyl-undecane) that identify the presence of disease in the exhaled breath of patients with MS.

Using the sensors, the scientists carried out a proof-of-concept clinical study on 34 MS patients and 17 healthy volunteers and found that the developed sensors are just as accurate as a lumbar puncture but without the pain or the risk of side effects. Results obtained from the study showed that the sensors could discriminate between MS and healthy states from exhaled breath samples with 85.3% sensitivity, 70.6% specificity, and 80.4% accuracy.

Initiator and coordinator of the study, Prof. Hossam Haick at the department of chemical engineering and Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute, Technion–Israel Institute of Technology (Haifa, Israel) and colleagues report that doctors currently diagnose MS according to clinical symptoms, which include muscle spasms, numbness, coordination problems, and slurred speech. Confirmation of the diagnosis is made by either magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is costly, or lumbar puncture, which is invasive and can be painful with unpleasant side effects.

The study was published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience in 2012.

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Technion–Israel Institute of Technology

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