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MSGI Security Solutions, which "serves the needs of counter-terrorism, public safety, law enforcement, and commercial security," has moved into a new area: diabetes detection. In fact, it has developed a handheld sensor that detects diabetes by measuring the level of acetone in the breath. The device, which employs carbon-based chemical sensors that detect organic vapors, is based upon nano sensors that NASA originally developed to make scientific measurements during space missions.
How does a sensor that detects acetone serve to diagnose diabetes? Because people with diabetes are resistant to insulin or don't produce it at all, their bodies are unable to move glucose from their bloodstream into their cells for energy. When the starved cells call for more glucose, the liver gets into action, converting fat into glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis ("gluco" = glucose; "neo" = new; and "genesis" = production). Gluconeogenesis produces substances called ketones. Ketones break down into three basic compounds, one of them being acetone, which then ends up in the breath.
According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), about half of the approximately 246 million people in the world who have diabetes don't know that they have the disease. Early detection would mean that early treatment could be made available. And early treatment, as we know, is absolutely necessary to prevent or delay the complications of diabetes. A simple breath test would go a long way toward simplifying early detection.
Please be aware, however, that this product is still in the prototype stage. MSGI has formed a subsidiary, Nanobeak, which is looking to test the handheld sensor and then license it to Big Pharma. It will then be up to Big Pharma to determine how to market the device to us, the consumers, or to our healthcare providers. (By the way, a nanobeak is a near-field optical head with a beaked metallic plate. Now you know.)
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Wikipedia- Ketone bodies
7 comments - Oct 9, 2009