Non-invasive Diagnostic Method using Breath Analysis

 In Naturopathic News

Non-invasive Technique for Diagnosing 17 Distinct Disease Conditions

A recent study gives a glimpse at a non-invasive technique for diagnosing 17 distinct disease conditions (of cancerous, inflammatory, and neurological type) using a breath analyzer.1 Volatile aromatic compounds (VOCs) have been noted as biomarkers numerous diseases, including cancer,2 but a method for analyzing them in a clinically practical method has been lacking. This study looks at nanotechnology-based chemical sensor matrices utilizing nanomaterials – a modified gold nanoparticle within a random network of single-walled carbon nanotubes. This technology is able to detect specific VOCs in the presence of interfering gases in the breath, at a scale, which allows devices to be handheld, and even attach to Smartphones.

Study Reveals

1404 test subjects, having one of 17 different diseases* (cancerous, inflammatory, and neurological diseases) were studied, utilizing 2 breath samples each, for a total of 2808 breath samples. Blind experiments revealed that the nanotechnology could detect and differentiate between these conditions with 86% accuracy. The nanoarray did show that each disease has a unique gaseous blueprint, and that the presence of one disease would not screen out others. Gas chromatography linked with mass spectrometry was used to validate the classification and diagnostic power of the nanoarray.

Follow Na-Nose for Low Cost Detection

Though the accuracy of the tool was only 86%, this research is favorable in the development of low cost, easily accessible diagnostic tools for many common diseases, including cancer. This technology easily interfaces with smart technology, such as tablets and smartphones. Currently available devices include the Na-Nose (Nanoscale Artificial nose), which is also being marketed to detect indications of Streptococcus; Methicillin resistant (MRSA); Staphylococcus; Enterococcus; Vancomycin resistant (VRE); Pneumococcus; Hemophilus influenza (HiB); Chickenpox; and the Common Cold.

* lung cancer, colorectal cancer, head and neck cancer, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, gastric cancer, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, idiopathic Parkinson’s, atypical Parkinsonism, multiple sclerosis, pulmonary arterial hypertension, pre-eclampsia, and chronic kidney disease


  1. Nakhleh MK, Amal H, Jeries R, et al. Diagnosis and Classification of 17 Diseases from 1404 Subjects via Pattern Analysis of Exhaled Molecules. ACS Nano. 2017;11(1):112-125.
  2. Haick H.; Broza Y. Y.; Mochalski P.; Ruzsanyi V.; Amann A.Assessment, Origin, and Implementation of Breath Volatile Cancer Markers. Chem. Soc. Rev. 2014, 43, 1423–144910.1039/C3CS60329F.

    Node Smith, associate editor for NDNR, is a fifth year naturopathic medical student at NUNM, where he has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine amongst the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend campout where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Three years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision. 

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