Sniff Smartphone: detecting cancer patients on their odor

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The “Sniff iPhone” shows sniffing in an unexpectedly new context: It is should enable the unwanted spying on its users, but allow the smartphone-based, early and simple diagnosis of diseases such as cancer. Background: Abnormal metabolic derangements caused by cancer, change the odor of the breath or urine of affected patients. In studies dogs could sniff out prostate cancer with high accuracy (98%) , so they could identify those affected easily. The goal of the new digital health project “SniffPhone” is to equip smartphones with special “sniffing sensors” that allow users to check their breathing and enable an early detection of diseases such as hypoglycaemia by the identification of acetone in the breath of affected diabetics or infections or cancer. The big advantages: The method is inexpensive, in contrast to blood diagnostics non-invasive and can be easily done by the patient himself. These are good news showing what interesting perspectives digitally Health projects open in the optimization of the early detection of diseases. Although the project is currently still in an early stage of research, it awakens legitimate hope. The so-called “Breathometer” is already far advanced in the development. He can already measure ethanol – i.e. alcohol – in the breathing air. In the future the company also wants to detect halitosis, hypoglycaemia (acetone), different allergens and other disease-causing substances through a simple analysis of the ambient air. Also metabolites in the exhaled air of patients with cancer are on the list of target substances that the “Breathometer” should be able to detect.


Source: Researchers building the SniffPhone for smartphone-enabled diagnostics, Febr 4th 2015

by Ursula Kramer