Sweet-smelling breath to help diabetes diagnosis in children

The potential to quickly diagnose children with type 1 diabetes before the onset of serious illness could be achieved using a simple, non-invasive breath test, according to new research published today.

In one of the most comprehensive breath-based studies of with type 1 diabetes performed to date, a team of researchers from Oxford, UK have linked a sweet-smelling chemical marker in the breath with a build-up of potentially harmful chemicals in the blood that accumulate when insulin levels are low.

It is hoped these results—linking an increased level of breath acetone with increased levels of ketones in the blood—could inspire the development of a diagnostic device to identify children with new diabetes before the onset of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

The results of the study have been published today, 26 November, in IOP Publishing's Journal of Breath Research.

DKA occurs when a severe lack of insulin means the body cannot use glucose for energy and starts to break down fat instead. Organic compounds called ketones are the by-product of the breakdown of fat and, if left unchecked, can build up and cause the body to become acidic.

About one in four children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes don't know they have it until they develop DKA, which can cause severe illness.

Acetone, which is the simplest ketone, is one of the by-products produced in the development of DKA and is usually disposed of through the breath. Indeed, for over 200 years acetone has been known to produce a sweet smell on the breath of diabetes sufferers.

In their study, the researchers, from the University of Oxford, Oxford Medical Diagnostics and Oxford Children's Hospital, collected the from 113 children and adolescents between the ages 7 and 18.

Isoprene and acetone were collected in breath bags and measurements were compared with capillary blood glucose and ketone levels, which were taken at the same time during a single visit to Oxford Children's Hospital.

The researchers found a significant relationship between increased levels of acetone in the breath of the subjects and increased levels of blood ketones—specifically β hydroxybutyrate.

They found no link between isoprene and acetone levels in breath and glucose levels in the blood.

Co-author of the study, Professor Gus Hancock, said: "While breath acetone has been measured in relatively large cohorts of healthy individuals, most measurements on people with type 1 diabetes have been carried out on relatively small cohorts, typically made up of less than 20 people, with relatively few measurements on children.

"Our results have shown that it is realistically possible to use measurements of breath acetone to estimate blood ketones.

"We are working on the development of a small hand held device that would allow the possibility of breath measurements for ketone levels and help to identify children with new diabetes before DKA supervenes. Currently testing for diabetes requires a blood test which can be traumatic for children.

"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 , preventing hospital admissions by providing a warning of the possible development of DKA."


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More information: Comparison of breath gases, including acetone, with blood glucose and blood ketones in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Tom P J Blaikie, Julie A Edge, Gus Hancock, Daniel Lunn, Clare Megson, Rob Peverall, Graham Richmond, Grant A D Ritchie and David Taylor J. Breath Res. 8 (2014) 046010. iopscience.iop.org/1752-7163/8/4/046010
Journal information: Journal of Breath Research

Citation: Sweet-smelling breath to help diabetes diagnosis in children (2014, November 25) retrieved 14 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-11-sweet-smelling-diabetes-diagnosis-children.html
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Nov 25, 2014
Well,
Indeed, for over 200 years acetone has been known to produce a sweet smell on the breath of diabetes sufferers.


Nov 25, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Nov 25, 2014
for over 200 years acetone has been known to produce a sweet smell on the breath of diabetes sufferers
@katesisco
there is a huge difference between diagnosing with ketoacidosis and having it, which is the point of the article, and then there is the ruling out of false positives from alcohol or other means (medications) that need to be done which is why blood tests are required
More often than not, when diabetic ketoacidosis is present, ther are already serious complications that need to be addressed (perhaps immediately) as it may cause diabetic coma and even death

http://www.rightd...osis.htm

what i think the study is trying to do is diagnose via breath in low concentrations that could be predictive indicators for better management of diabetes (esp. type 1)

as it stands now, ketoacidosis can be found in alcoholics, the drunk as well as diabetics but is only an indicator of the need for emergency treatment in diabetics


Nov 25, 2014
It indeed is, but the tax payers are always willing to pay the same re-search again and again, it seems. We have no public control over it.
@ZEPHIR/imido
1- you are an idiot... there've not been many (if at all) studies correlating levels of acidosis in breath levels of children done, and very few diabetic studies were done for children at all until fairly recently (within the past 20 or 30 years)
2- this study is trying to find a better and less hostile and invasive means for management in young people!
it even said that in the 2nd freaking sentence in the abstract
The aims of this study were to investigate these relationships in children and young people with type 1 diabetes in order to assess the efficacy of a simple breath test as a non-invasive means of diabetes management.
don't you ever even read before you comment?

there is a difference between ignorance and conspiratorial BS... and you are way over that line

at least read the article first
TROLL

Nov 26, 2014
@Captain Stumpy

Always delighted to read your astute critiques of mentally-challenged humans/bots/zephirs.

Please ensure your offspring are numerous - the world needs more intelligence....

Nov 26, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Nov 26, 2014
This is not a conspirational BS
@ZEPHIR/selena
and if you had read what i posted as well as what was in the study, you would realise that this is not Duh research
NOR is it minor, inconsequential or anything else
This kind of study is vital for children because when you have a disease that must be monitored carefully, and the only way is invasive blood sampling, then any means of checking that will be safer and less invasive is beneficial because children will be more inclined to use it rather than fearful of the pain
but I'm not retired fireman, who lacks the education and awareness of deeper connections of reality
LOL and of course, YOU keep your finger on the pulse of everything real, right?

considering your inclination of supporting pseudoscience and the inability to accept falsification or real physics, then it is far more likely that you are the delusional TROLL "who lacks the education and awareness of deeper connections of reality"


Nov 26, 2014
but simply a consequence of overemployment in contemporary research. Also the lack of money for deeper research brings the tendency for trivialization of research topics. It's very well documented trend of contemporary science
@ZEPHIR/selena
another point: you are suggesting that an opinionated article is equivalent to studies?

what you have above is called circumstantial evidence
but because it is based upon an opinion and not upon an empirical study, it is pretty much equivalent to an opinion and is no better than speculation from anyone else

therefore, if you want to support your conclusions with evidence, i suggest you find something more concrete and less opinionated

Especially since you can find articles (especially on-line) supporting ANY position that you wish to have, including racial, sexists and other idiotic notions (for proof of this, simply log into Reddit and see all that pseudoscience, like daw/aw !)

Nov 26, 2014
I can be a troll, but I'm not retired fireman, who lacks the education and awareness of deeper connections of reality.
@ZEPHIR
Post script:
1- notice on the link you left that I state an education (Two 4yr degree's)
2- you've never been able to even demonstrate a high school equivalent education
3- you IGNORE empirical evidence that refutes your own failed falsified conjecture so that you don't have to feel inadequate
4- a "fireman" is someone who stokes the feeder (also known as a boiler, firebox or other names) on a steam or coal fired engine
I am a retired Professional Paramedic Firefighter Truck Captain

Just for clarity, mind you
;-)

Nov 26, 2014
@Captain Stumpy

Always delighted to read your astute critiques of mentally-challenged humans/bots/zephirs.

Please ensure your offspring are numerous - the world needs more intelligence....
@AstroDwarf
Thank you
My children are numerous and my grandchildren are taking after my desire for evidence and science as well.

this type of study has a particular soft spot in my heart because of the nature of my work in the past as a Paramedic Firefighter... especially with regard to diabetes (as i have relatives that are borderline or diabetic)

I think this is a great thing and i hope that there is further research and development in this area

IMHO - the last thing anyone wants to do to a traumatized child during any rescue is to further traumatize the child with unnecessary bloodletting for the sake of a check on blood sugar levels, etc

LATE EDIT
on a steam or coal fired engine
this should read
on a steam engine that is coal, wood, pellet or other fuel fired

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