Heavy breathing for science

By Website Administrator | Nov 24, 2003

There was a lot of heavy breathing going on at Kettering Nov. 19 and 21, as part of a clinical trial to determine if bio-markers in human breath can be used to diagnose osteo-arthritis.

There was a lot of heavy breathing going on at Kettering Nov. 19 and 21, as part of a clinical trial to determine if bio-markers in human breath can be used to diagnose osteo-arthritis. Researchers collected breath samples and checked knees. The knee exam was to determine if participants had undiagnosed symptoms of arthritis. The Nov. 19 and 21 breath collection was targeted at getting samples from non-arthritis sufferers, who were matched by age and gender to samples taken from osteo-arthritis patients at Family Orthopaedic Associates of Flint.

Using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GCx2GC), Dr. Stacy Seeley, assistant professor of Chemistry at Kettering, Dr. John Seeley, assistant professor of Chemistry at Oakland, Dr. Norm Walter, M.D., chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at McLaren, and Dr. Rajeev Jain, orthopaedic resident at McLaren, will test the non-invasive GCx2GC technique as a way to analyze breath samples collected for medical diagnosis of osteoarthritis. Funding was provided by the McLaren Foundation.

The researchers will compare breath samples collected from individuals not diagnosed with osteoarthritis and those already diagnosed with thecondition, to try and identify biomarkers, or volatile organic compounds in the breath, that are indicative of osteoarthritis. "If we find commonbiomarkers in osteoarthritis patients, then we can use them as a benchmark for future diagnoses," said Dr. Stacy Seeley. "Using breath as an indicator of illness has been around since Hippocrates," Seeley said, "but breath is so chemically complex we couldn't separate the compounds in it until recently." When the osteo-arthritis clinical trail is finished, Seeley said they may be able to identify up to 3,000 compounds in breath.

Volatile organic compounds are those that go into a gaseous state easily. For example, nail polish remover evaporates at a higher rate than water because it is more volatile. The GCx2GC technique for analyzing the more than 300 volatile organic compounds in human breath was developed by Dr. John Seeley.



Written by Dawn Hibbard
810-762-9865
dhibbard@kettering.edu