Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Seeing Through the Skin

by AURAMETRIX

REFERENCES


Andreoni G, Standoli CE, & Perego P (2016). Defining Requirements and Related Methods for Designing Sensorized Garments. Sensors (Basel, Switzerland), 16 (6) PMID: 27240361

Gao W, Emaminejad S, Nyein HY, Challa S, Chen K, Peck A, Fahad HM, Ota H, Shiraki H, Kiriya D, Lien DH, Brooks GA, Davis RW, & Javey A (2016). Fully integrated wearable sensor arrays for multiplexed in situ perspiration analysis. Nature, 529 (7587), 509-14 PMID: 26819044

Imani S, Bandodkar AJ, Mohan AM, Kumar R, Yu S, Wang J, & Mercier PP (2016). A wearable chemical-electrophysiological hybrid biosensing system for real-time health and fitness monitoring. Nature communications, 7 PMID: 27212140

Lee H, Choi TK, Lee YB, Cho HR, Ghaffari R, Wang L, Choi HJ, Chung TD, Lu N, Hyeon T, Choi SH, & Kim DH (2016). A graphene-based electrochemical device with thermoresponsive microneedles for diabetes monitoring and therapy. Nature nanotechnology, 11 (6), 566-72 PMID: 26999482

Panneer Selvam A, Muthukumar S, Kamakoti V, & Prasad S (2016). A wearable biochemical sensor for monitoring alcohol consumption lifestyle through Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) detection in human sweat. Scientific reports, 6 PMID: 26996103
XXX

Yokota T, Zalar P, Kaltenbrunner M, Jinno H, Matsuhisa N, Kitanosako H, Tachibana Y, Yukita W, Koizumi M, & Someya T (2016). Ultraflexible organic photonic skin. Science advances, 2 (4) PMID: 27152354


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Odors and Infections

Many illnesses are associated with distinct odors. Especially those caused by infectious or opportunistic microbes inside the body or on its surfaces.  Body odor of someone infected with C. difficile, for example, can appear "swampy", Rotavirus gives sharply sweet putrid smell that some people associate with wet dogs,  H. pylori  can create a range of foul odors, and pseudomonas infections can smell like grapes and bitter almonds

Infections like C. difficile are usually linked to a general imbalance of the intestinal microbiota, often referred to as dysbiosis. This means that the odors could be coming from several microbial species, hence could be different for different individuals. Does it mean odor-based diagnostics will never be enough specific?

Not according to a 2-year-old beagle from Netherland, named Cliff. After just a little over two months of training, the beagle learned to identify the C. diff toxin by sniffing people or their samples. During one test, he was able to identify 25 out of 30 infected patients and 265 of 270 non-infected individuals. He also correctly identified 50 of 50 C. diff positive stool samples and 47 of 50 samples from people that did not have this infection. That's sensitivity of 100% for samples and 83-93% for sniffing the air around the patients, and a specificity of 94-100%! And it took him less than 10 minutes to accurately perform 300 diagnostic tests.  

Dogs already do the dirty work with detecting molds. They can examine an office building with 200 rooms in just 8 hours, a task that would take us several days of measuring  moisture, probably without any result. Electronic noses would be of great help and many years of research are finally being translated into useful technologies - to be integrated with refrigerators and mobile phones. But until we are able to build smart devices to detect odors without labor-intensive dog training, perhaps we could train our own nozzles. Studies have shown we do get better with practice. 


REFERENCES

Bomers MK, van Agtmael MA, Luik H, van Veen MC, Vandenbroucke-Grauls CM, & Smulders YM (2012). Using a dog's superior olfactory sensitivity to identify Clostridium difficile in stools and patients: proof of principle study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 345 PMID: 23241268

Poulton J, Tarlow MJ. (1987) Diagnosis of rotavirus gastroenteritis by smell. Arch Dis Child. 1987 Aug;62(8):851-2. PMID: 3662595

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Of blood and breath: metabolite-based diagnosis of ovarian cancer

Physicians always knew that breath contains clues to diseases. Chemicals in breath often correlate with chemicals in saliva and blood - be it alcohol, anaesthetics or other metabolites (see, for example, this study by Dr Andreas Hengstenberg).

As one of my interests is breath-based detection of ovarian cancer, I took note of the recent paper claiming 99% to 100% accuracy of detecting ovarian cancer by metabolites in blood.
The authors used customized functional support vector machine-based machine-learning algorithms to classify thousands of metabolites measured by mass spectrometry (JEOL AccuTOF™ DART® that allowed to forego conventional liquid chromatography as sufficient resolution was achieved without separation) in peripheral blood. 

100% sensitivity and 100% specificity was achieved with 64-30 split validation technique, while 100% sensitivity and 98% specificity was the accuracy of leave-one-out-cross-validation. Very large number of metabolites, from 2,000 to 3,000 features, contributed to such discriminatory power (see the list of 14,000+ in supplemental material
 
Set of 25 canonical metabolic pathways relevant to the uploaded elemental
formulae ranked according to their p-values (hypergeometric distribution).
Histamine, amino acid, fructose and glucose metabolism were among the most prominent processes discriminating cancer and healthy blood.
It's that simple: sugar feeds cancer. Scientists have long found that cancer cells slurp fructose, and that fructose intake can be linked to some cancers. Histamine/polyamine interplay in cancers is also known. Histamine may be involved in inhibition of the local immune response against cancer. Is amino acid metabolism also linked to cancer? Well, what is not.   




Metabolomic biomarkers were always known to have diagnostic potential - cholesterol and glucose are among the oldest and most widely performed diagnostic tests. Yet, most bleeding edge cancer detection platforms are genomic or proteomic in nature.  Of the thousands of known biomarkers, only a handful have made it into the clinic. Existing ovarian cancer tests mostly rely on detecting a protein -  carbohydrate antigen 125. Vermillion's OVA1 and HealthLinx OvPlex tests use five proteins. This may be extended to 7.

Metabolites represent the end products of the genome and proteome, thus metabolomics-based diagnostics  holds the promise of providing powerful diagnostics,  allowing for differentiation of increased and decreased levels of chemicals with low process coefficient of variation.


Metabolomic tests were used for medical diagnostics starting with Hippocrates and Lavoisier. They continue to be explored by modern scientists. Dr Michael Phillips, for example, developed HeartsBreath Test, approved by the US Food and Drug Agency for early diagnosis of heart transplant rejection. Research proved the potential of inexpensive breath tests in discriminating lung, breast, colon and prostate cancers. Let's hope the new article  - along with others - will lead to novel consumer products, not only more academic research and peer-reviewed publications.


ResearchBlogging.org
Zhou M, Guan W, Walker LD, Mezencev R, Benigno BB, Gray A, Fernández FM, & McDonald JF (2010). Rapid Mass Spectrometric Metabolic Profiling of Blood Sera Detects Ovarian Cancer with High Accuracy. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology PMID: 20699376
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

On cancers and petroleum spills

Researchers have known for years that smell of cancer patients is chemically different from healthy individuals. One more study featured in British Journal of Cancer brings us a bit closer to an inexpensive, easy-to-use, portable device for home diagnostics. 

Exhaled breath collected from 177 volunteers (patients with lung, colon, breast, and prostate cancers and healthy controls) was examined by gold nanoparticle nanosensor arrays (GNPs) and gas chromatography linked to the mass spectrometry technique (GC-MS). 
GNP sensor resistance responses showed remarkable separation between cancer and healthy controls (Principal Component Analysis results are shown in the Figure: LC, lung cancer;  CC, colon cancer; BC, breast cancer; PC, prostate cancer).

Most of the VOCs reported in this study appear for the first time in the literature, adding to the wide spectrum of chemicals previously proposed as cancer biomarkers. Some of the chemicals -  predictive of  lung and prostate cancers -  are frequently released to the environment through petroleum spills. 

1-methyl-4-(1-methylethyl)-benzene - known as p-cymene  or p-isopropyltoluene -   is utilized by various species for chemical communication. It can be derived from the essential oils of herbs and spices and has biocidal properties against foodborne pathogens such as spoilage yeasts and E. coli O157:H7. p-cymene is the biological precursor of carvacrol that is also an antimicrobial agent (Kiskó and Roller, 2005).  It's decreased with cancer, and is present at higher concentrations in healthy individuals.


Toluene, dodecane and other aromatic components of petroleum are among chemicals found in human breath.

Typical "octane booster" toluene  - present at higher concentrations in lung and prostate cancers - is toxic to living organisms although some bacteria (like P. putida that has toluene operon) are able to grow in its presence (Eaton 1997).

Dodecane, a biogasoline component, is higher in the breath of healthy individuals. It is decreased in lung cancer. One of its derivatives - 2,6,11-trimethyl-dodecane was found in 80% of the males, but in none of the females participating in the study. 

Another aromatic compound, 2-amino-5-isopropyl-8-methyl-1-azulenecarbonitrile, similar to carbonitriles used in manufacturing of fragrance agents, is present at higher concentrations in breast, colon and prostate cancers when compared to healthy controls.

An alcane 3,7-dimethyl-undecane was found to be indicative of allergies. It was previously found to be eliminated from mice odors when they enter reproductive cycle (Achiraman & Archunan, 2006) and proposed to be used in diagnostics of asthma (Dragonieri et al., 2007).

Chemicals in breath can tell not only about cancers, but also relate to other diseases, environmental exposures and dietary behavior. This might decrease discriminative power of  expensive metabolomics technologies and bioinformatics approaches not based on additional knowledge, yet custom-made sensor arrays show great promise.


References

ResearchBlogging.org
Peng G, Hakim M, Broza YY, Billan S, Abdah-Bortnyak R, Kuten A, Tisch U, & Haick H (2010). Detection of lung, breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers from exhaled breath using a single array of nanosensors. British journal of cancer, 103 (4), 542-51 PMID: 20648015



Gabriella Kiskó, Sibel Roller. (2005) Carvacrol and p-cymene inactivate Escherichia coli O157:H7 in apple juiceBMC Microbiol. 2005; 5: 36

Eaton RW.  (1997) p-Cymene catabolic pathway in Pseudomonas putida F1: cloning and characterization of DNA encoding conversion of p-cymene to p-cumate. J Bacteriol. 1997 May;179(10):3171-80.

Shanmugam Achiraman, Govindaraju Archunan (2006) 1-Iodo-2methylundecane, a putative estrus-specific urinary chemo-signal of female mouse (Mus musculus) Theriogenology 66, 1913–1920

Dragonieri S, Schot R, Mertens BJ, Le Cessie S, Gauw SA, Spanevello A, Resta O, Willard NP, Vink TJ, Rabe KF, Bel EH, Sterk PJ. (2007) An electronic nose in the discrimination of patients with asthma and controls. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 120(4):856-62. 
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Monday, February 1, 2010

Foods and Smells

Kagome started as a tomato grower, and its mai...Image via Wikipedia
How many flavors are out there? We often hear only about these five - sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savory (umami), but there are so many more and they are important not only to our tastes but also health.
Remember that fresh grassy smell wafting up from the newly sliced tomato? It may be it's way of saying  "I'm good for you".
Stephen A. Goff and Harry J. Klee's article "Plant Volatile Compounds: Sensory Cues for Health and Nutritional Value?" published in a 2006 issue of Science explains why odors from foods may be nutritional or health signals that the human nose has learned to recognize.
Among the things emmigrants from less developed countries miss in USA is the scent of fresh tomatoes. One of the volatile compounds associated with the “grassy” tomato flavor, cis-3-Hexenal, is also an indicator of fatty acids essential to the human diet. Wild tomato contained more than three times the amount of that chemical than the cultivated version in the developed world. Two other contributors to tomato flavor — 2- and 3-methylbutanal — are indicators of the presence of essential amino acids and are also three times more common in the wild tomato. Same applies to commercial apples, strawberries, bread, cheese, even wine and beer.
Flavorful curcumin in tumeric has anti-inflammatory properties, compounds in ginger have antioxidants, and there are antimicrobial chemicals that contribute to the scent of onions, garlic, rosemary, sage, clove, mustard, chili peppers and thyme.
There are hundreds of volatile compounds in foods and beverages, often a major factor in how taste of foods is perceived.
What smells people enjoy the most?
Joanne Camas from Epicurious.com lists these 5 food smells:

1. Fried onions cooking
2. Banana bread baking (extra points if it has chocolate chips in it)
3. A perfectly ripe tomato as you slice into it, especially on a warm, sunny day
4. Coffee brewing
5. Garlic bread, fresh out of the oven
Most people commenting on this post listed baked breads and coffee as their top favorites too. Other choices include pies, spices and meats.


Here are some of the responses pulled from different blogs. What are your top five?
chefrosey 12:23:21 PM on 02/01/10
Chocolate
Fresh brewed coffee
Fresh baked bread
Fresh picked strawberries or an orange being peeled!
Any baked good coming out of the oven!
chef330 12:14:17 PM on 02/01/10
1. Onions sauteeing in butter
2. Chocolate Chip Cookies coming out of the oven
3. Just-picked peaches
4. Hot Apple Pie
5. European Butter - you can smell the flavor


Janet Tue Feb 2, 2010 2:22pm PST

apple pie baking in the oven
tralala311 Tue Feb 2, 2010 2:25pm PST

mmmm... GUMBO!!!
Habanero♥™ Tue Feb 2, 2010 2:32pm PST

Bacon, Baking Bread, Turkey, Pumpkin Pie, Molasses Cookies, Cinnamon Rolls.

Sherri Tue Feb 2, 2010 2:53pm PST

Coffee brewing, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cinnammon Rolls, Bread, Pumkin Pie
__A_YAHOO_USER__ Wed Feb 3, 2010 9:21am PST
i think there's something about a roast that's been slow cooking all day that smells delicious, it'd be on my top 5 for sure.
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