Scientists at the University of Huddersfield, U.K., are trying to develop a breath test to detect volatile molecules exhaled only by people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Doing so might offer a non-invasive and simple way to diagnose the disease.
The research team now plans to undertake a large study involving people with MS to confirm if the breathing test can be a suitable diagnostic tool.
During each breath, hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released to the air, which usually reflect the metabolic condition of an individual. These volatile substances can offer insights about changes happening in the body, which are not always apparent.
Disease-specific VOCs can be used as diagnostic olfactory biomarkers for infectious, metabolic, and other diseases, as well as genetic disorders.
Research suggests that some VOCs may be unique to MS, and some may reflect changes in gut bacteria.
Now, U.K. scientists from the University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Biomarker Research (CeBioR) are examining if these biomarkers are reliable enough to be used in real tests. If so, they could be a faster, less expensive and, importantly, a non-invasive way to diagnose MS.
A breathing test also might help monitor how MS is progressing, and how people with the disease are responding to treatment.
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