Electronic Nose Helps Detect Sub-Groups of Asthma in Children

First Posted: Sep 08, 2014 05:15 AM EDT

A new study shows that the use of electric nose helps detect successfully the various sub-groups of asthmatic children.

The study aims at finding out more about the various types of asthma so that each individual is treated properly. This new study is led by the European Lung Foundation.

The health experts have now learnt that there are several types of asthma and that each type affects the individual in various ways. In the current study, the researchers focus on categorizing the different clusters into phenotypes and on viewing the underlying patho-physiological pathways of these smaller sub-groups of asthma.

Only if this is attained, that the health experts can design several asthma treatments suiting every individual, instead of going for a single approach.

The researchers looked at the profile of a person's exhaled breath. They evaluated 106 such samples from children with asthma or wheezing tendencies. They mainly looked at the particles in the breath called exhaled volatile compounds that were later analyzed using electronic noses.

The researchers noted that there were five different sub-groups of asthma. In each cluster, the breath profiles of the patients were the same. On comparison, the clinical characteristics of the groups it was seen that they differed in age as well as in symptoms.

This revealed that analyzing the exhaled breath using electronic nose can be more helpful in understanding the differences between those with asthma, who could help identify sub-groups of the condition.

Paul Brinkman, lead author of the study from the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, said: "We know electronic noses have the potential to help us understand more about a range of lung diseases. In this study, we have shown that they are an effective method of understanding more about the subtle differences seen between people with asthma. By classifying asthma into different subgroups, we might be able to provide much more tailored treatment for each individual."

The finding was presented at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress.

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