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DrQuine
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Expanding the Utility of Breathalyzers
DrQuine   11/28/2014 11:50:01 AM
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The ability of breathalyzers to save immediately lives by preventing drunk driving is being extended in an elegant manner to provide a longer range sensing ability. Good country doctors have been able to diagnose a variety of conditions from strep throat to diabetes by smell for years (and reduce the need for expensive lab tests). I can envision these devices being placed in drug stores and other healthcare venues as a preliminary screening device.  Perhaps a fasting period (and brushed teeth) would help reduce the incidence of false positives from unusual foods. In any case, the purpose of these devices would be to identify possible issues to check out under better controlled conditions.

jnissen
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Re: Animal senses
jnissen   11/18/2014 4:59:30 PM
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Daughter tried this with her cat. Was not a pretty sight. While they may sell leashes and other items that give you the perception you can train a cat... don't fool yourself!

Need to get this back on track.

Dogs are very trainable and with the superior sense of smell can detect all sorts of disease.

rich.pell
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Re: Animal senses
rich.pell   11/18/2014 4:28:15 PM
If you can train a cat to do ANYTHING I'd be amazed.

CitiKitty Cat Toilet Training Kit

RichQ
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Re: Breathalyzer -- food issue
RichQ   11/18/2014 2:30:22 PM
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The list of chemicals that the article gave - nitric oxide, ammonia, acetone, etc. - hardly seem like things that would be in your last meal and thus remaining in your mouth after eating. If they are looking for those kinds of chemical indicators then all they need to do is focus on whatever uniquely identifies them. That way it doesn't matter what others are present.

I wonder, though, what the risks associated with a false positive are? I would imagine that this would only be used as a screening device, and that more precise (and directed) tests would follow any indication of a problem.

Jessica Lipsky
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Re: Breathalyzer -- food issue
Jessica Lipsky   11/18/2014 2:06:29 PM
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That's a very good point. Using breath without suffienciently cleaning the mouth would require a massive database of chemical compounds present in various foods. I wonder if researchers are working on that.

zeeglen
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Re: Animal senses
zeeglen   11/18/2014 9:05:45 AM
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@jnissen If you can train a cat to do ANYTHING I'd be amazed.

Cats train themselves to do only what the cat wants to do.  I once had a cat that learned from observing the dog that sitting up to beg was a good way to get treats.

Back on topic, is there any information available as to how the nanowires are made and how they detect the various molecules?  Oops. never mind, found the slide show and the control buttons.

jnissen
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Re: Animal senses
jnissen   11/17/2014 7:25:41 PM
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"The problem with cats is training them to a consistent signal, rather than whatever they want to do."

 

If you can train a cat to do ANYTHING I'd be amazed.

 

There are already diabetic service dogs that are quite popular for type1 kids. The dog will alert on lows or highs. If a dog can smell and sense this then the researchers are on the correct trail. Now how to have Fido tell us what he smells!

docdivakar
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Re: A great application of breathalyzer
docdivakar   11/17/2014 5:40:10 PM
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Ditto! This is a much welcome development. To measure 0.8 ppm, the accuracy needs to be smaller than 0.08ppm or 0.008ppm depending on the accuracy in decimals need for a particular measurement; and the noise figure needs to be far less than this. I am sure nanowires-based sensors are capable of measuring to this accuracy but I don't know at what cost!

Further, the disposable versions of these types of sensors have to find lower-cost fabrication methods which is where the researchers like those cited above need to be sponsored.

MP Divakar

perl_geek
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Animal senses
perl_geek   11/17/2014 12:45:17 PM
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There have definitely been cases of dogs detecting cancers, and I believe that cats have been shown to have similar abilities. (My own mother attributed her early detection of breast cancer to persistent behaviour by our cat.)  The problem with cats is training them to a consistent signal, rather than whatever they want to do.)

"Data" is not the plural of "anecdote", but the more stories there are, the more plausible something becomes.

In some cases, particularly ketosis in diabetics, even the crude human schnoz can detect the condition. If your friend starts to smell of pear-drops, and becomes incoherent, get some sugar into them forthwith.

Tamza2
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Re: Breathalyzer -- food issue
Tamza2   11/17/2014 12:43:47 PM
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Rinse with Listerine and your breath-odor is camouflaged ... same will happen here. BUT perhaps there will need to be a 'noise cancelling' system to take care of the 'new-food portion of the signal.

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