Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The diabetes 'breathalyzer'

Date:
June 10, 2013
Source:
University of Pittsburgh
Summary:
Chemists have demonstrated a sensor technology that could significantly simplify the diagnosis and monitoring of diabetes through breath analysis alone.

A transmission electron microscopy image of the hybrid material revealing the formation of “titanium dioxide on a stick.”
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Pittsburgh

Diabetes patients often receive their diagnosis after a series of glucose-related blood tests in hospital settings, and then have to monitor their condition daily through expensive, invasive methods. But what if diabetes could be diagnosed and monitored through cheaper, noninvasive methods?A transmission electron microscopy image of the hybrid material revealing the formation of "titanium dioxide on a stick."

Chemists at the University of Pittsburgh have demonstrated a sensor technology that could significantly simplify the diagnosis and monitoring of diabetes through breath analysis alone. Their findings were published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS).

Even before blood tests are administered, those with diabetes often recognize the condition's symptoms through their breath acetone -- a characteristic "fruity" odor that increases significantly with high glucose levels. The Pitt team was interested in this biomarker as a possible diagnostic tool.

"Once patients are diagnosed with diabetes, they have to monitor their condition for the rest of their lives," said Alexander Star, principal investigator of the project and Pitt associate professor of chemistry. "Current monitoring devices are mostly based on blood glucose analysis, so the development of alternative devices that are noninvasive, inexpensive, and provide easy-to-use breath analysis could completely change the paradigm of self-monitoring diabetes."

Together with his colleagues -- Dan Sorescu, a research physicist at the National Energy Technology Laboratory, and Mengning Ding, a Pitt graduate student studying chemistry -- Star used what's called a "sol-gel approach," a method for using small molecules (often on a nanoscale level) to produce solid materials. The team combined titanium dioxide -- an inorganic compound widely used in body-care products such as makeup -- with carbon nanotubes, which acted as "skewers" to hold the particles together. These nanotubes were used because they are stronger than steel and smaller than any element of silicon-based electronics.

This method, which the researchers playfully call "titanium dioxide on a stick," effectively combined the electrical properties of the tubes with the light-illuminating powers of the titanium dioxide. They then created the sensor device by using these materials as an electrical semiconductor, measuring its electrical resistance (the sensor's signal).

The researchers found the sensor could be activated with light to produce an electrical charge. This prompted them to "cook" the "skewers" in the sensor under ultraviolet light to measure acetone vapors -- which they found were lower than previously reported sensitivities.

"Our measurements have excellent detection capabilities," said Star. "If such a sensor could be developed and commercialized, it could transform the way patients with diabetes monitor their glucose levels."

The team is currently working on a prototype of the sensor, with plans to test it on human breath samples soon.

The paper, "Photoinduced Charge Transfer and Acetone Sensitivity of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube-Titanium Dioxide Hybrids," was first published in JACS online June 5. The work was performed in support of ongoing research at the National Energy Technology Laboratory.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pittsburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mengning Ding, Dan C. Sorescu, Alexander Star. Photoinduced Charge Transfer and Acetone Sensitivity of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube–Titanium Dioxide Hybrids. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2013; 130605071201003 DOI: 10.1021/ja402887v

Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh. "The diabetes 'breathalyzer'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130610133125.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh. (2013, June 10). The diabetes 'breathalyzer'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130610133125.htm
University of Pittsburgh. "The diabetes 'breathalyzer'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130610133125.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) A look inside Monrovia's Island Hospital, a key treatment centre in the fight against Ebola in Liberia's capital city. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) The Ebola outbreak is putting stress on first responders in Liberia. Ambulance drivers say they are struggling with chronic shortages of safety equipment and patients who don't want to go to the hospital. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) After the announcement that the first U.S. patient had been diagnosed with Ebola, doctors were quick to say a U.S. outbreak is highly unlikely. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) Medical officials from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital confirm they are treating a patient with the Ebola virus, the first case found in the US. (Sept. 30 Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins