Toshiba's new breath analyzer warns you if you have diabetes

If you’re worried about being out of shape, or suspect you might have a disease like diabetes, just breathe into this Toshiba tube. It’s part of a prototype medical breath analyzer that’s small enough to be used in small clinics or gyms. By detecting trace gases that are exhaled, it could be used to monitor health indicators such as fat metabolism and help diagnose disease, Toshiba said.

Toshiba just took the wraps off a medical breathalyzer that the company says can diagnose diseases by analysing the air a patient exhales. “Bad breath” just took on a whole new meaning. The company’s breath analyzer prototype blasts a patient’s exhaled breath with a quantum cascade laser. Gaseous compounds in the patient’s breath absorb energy from the laser, then emit the energy in measurable forms that are unique to each compound. The energy emitted is then analysed, a process known as spectroscopy. Currently, Toshiba says the device can detect acetone (an indicator of diabetes), acetaldehyde (made when the body metabolizes alcohol, and responsible for hangovers ) and methane (whose levels indicate a patient’s intestinal health). In addition to disease monitoring, the company envisions the device being used to guide diet, exercise, and nutritional support.

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