23/Aug/2014 - Last News Update: 02:12

Lung infection identified using 'breath-print'

Category: Health

Published: 11th Jan 2013 01:41:05

Identifying the "smell" of different types of lung bacteria could lead to a simple breath test to diagnose infections, a study on mice, in the Journal of Breath Research, suggests.

Breath analysis could reduce lung infection diagnosis times from weeks to minutes, the Vermont researchers said.

Scientists have already researched breath tests to diagnose asthma and cancer.

An expert said breath analysis was "an important and emerging field".

Diagnosing bacterial infections traditionally means collecting a sample that is used to grow bacteria in the lab. This bacteria is then tested to classify it and see how it responds to antibiotics, which can take time.

Doctors see breath analysis, in contrast, as a fast and non-invasive method of diagnosing diseases.

Breath analysis is an emerging field and is likely to take off across the board.”

For the study, researchers from the University of Vermont analysed volatile organic compounds (VOCs) given off in exhaled breath by different bacteria as well as different strains of the same bacterium.

They infected mice with two bacteria that are both common in lung infections - Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus - and sampled their breath after 24 hours.

The compounds in their breath were analysed using a technique called secondary electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry (SESI-MS), which is capable of detecting extremely small elements of the chemicals present in their breath.

The researchers said they found a "statistically significant" difference between the breath profiles of the mice infected with the bacteria and the mice that were uninfected.

They also said they were able to differentiate between two species of bacteria and two different strains of the same P. aeruginosa bacterium.

But Jane Hill, co-author of the study, from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, said there were still some challenges to overcome with "breath-prints".

"We are now collaborating with colleagues to sample patients in order to demonstrate the strengths, as well as limitations, of breath analysis more comprehensively," she said.

Richard Hubbard, professor of respiratory epidemiology at Nottingham City Hospital and a spokesman for the British Lung Foundation, said breath analysis was already being used to diagnose children with asthma.

"Breath analysis is an emerging field and is likely to take off across the board. It could be a very useful tool for children with cystic fibrosis, for example, as a guide on how to treat them," he said.

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2013. Lung infection identified using 'breath-print' [Online] (Updated 11th Jan 2013)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1474743/Lung-infection-identified-using-039-breath-print-039 [Accessed 23rd Aug 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Cardiff police seize dog after woman, 91, is bitten

    A 91-year-old great-grandmother needed surgery after being bitten by a dog while walking home in Cardiff.
  • Hospitals told to cut parking costs under new guidelines

    Hospitals in England have been told to cut the cost of parking for certain groups under new government guidelines.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • The Doctor Who fan who created the show's new titles

    When a Doctor Who fan created his own unofficial title sequence for the show and put it on YouTube, the producers saw it and liked it so much that they decided to use it for the new series, which begins on BBC One on Saturday.
  • Hospitals told to cut parking costs under new guidelines

    Hospitals in England have been told to cut the cost of parking for certain groups under new government guidelines.
  • Glasgow hosts World Street Dance Championships

    About 6,000 people are expected to attend the World Street Dance Championships in Glasgow this weekend.