Breath test could help diagnose diabetes in children

Diagnosing type 1 diabetes in children could be as simple as using a non-invasive breath test, according to a new study.

Researchers from Oxford, UK, discovered a link between a chemical marker in the breath and ketones in the blood - which can reveal the state of insulin levels.

Using this research as a platform, a simple diagnostic tool could be developed that identifies new cases of diabetes in children.

The role of acetone

Acetone, a by-product of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), is known to produce sweet-smelling breath in people with diabetes.

For the study, researchers collected samples of acetone in "breath bags," which they then compared to blood glucose and ketone levels.

"Our results have shown that it is realistically possible to use measurements of breath acetone to estimate blood ketones," said study co-author Gus Hancock.

Hancock and his team are working on developing a small, hand-held breath device that would identify children with diabetes.

"Currently testing for diabetes requires a blood test which can be traumatic for children," Hancock said. "Also, if the relationship between breath acetone and blood ketone levels is true at higher levels of ketones, a simple breath-test could assist with the management of sick days in children with diabetes, preventing hospital admissions by providing a warning of the possible development of DKA."

The study is published in the Journal of Breath Research.

Source:
Institute of Physics

Image courtesy of arztsamui/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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