Breathalyzer developed to screen for lung cancer
A team at China’s Chongqing University says they have developed a device that can detect small organic compounds in a person’s breath that may signal lung cancer.
As reported in the journal Review of Scientific Instruments, the small breathalyzer device uses fluorescence-based sensors to detect the compounds. By using a sensitive rotary gas chamber to collect and process molecules in the breath, the device was able to detect lung cancer molecules at very small concentrations with almost 100 percent accuracy. The device also works quickly, taking just 20 minutes to complete the diagnoses.
The team tested four compounds that are biomarkers for lung cancer in the breath. Sections of the gas chamber were created to react with one of the four molecules. Researchers were able to detect the compunds as they reacted in flourescence to a special light. Based on the pattern of fluorescence, researchers could detect the concentrations of the compounds and determine if lung cancer was present.
The researchers say this may be a simpler tool for clinicians to use in cancer screenings compared to traditional CT scans. While the laboratory results are promising, they noted that the device would still need to prove effective in clinical trials before it could be used as a diagnositic tool.
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Sourced from: Science Daily, Potential new breathalyzer for lung cancer screening
Published On: Feb 18th 2015
Pot causes fewer accidents than alcohol
A study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concludes that people who smoke marijuana and drive are less likely to crash compared to people who drink and drive. Furthermore, once adjusting for age, race, gender and alcohol use, people who tested positively for marijuana while behind the wheel were no more likely to crash than people who did not drive with any drugs or alcohol in their system.
Statistically speaking, the study found no major difference in the risk of a crash from a wide variety of drugs, including painkillers, stimulants and antidepressants compared to not using drugs. However, once alcohol is involved with driving, the risk for a crash increases by close to seven times.
This study further shows that THC—the main active ingredient in marijuana—does not affect the body the same way that blood alcohol concentration does. However, the NHTSA states this study does not properly show how different drug concentration levels can change a person’s specific degree of driver impairment. For instance, THC can have a greater effect on one person compared to another. The study notes that, unlike alcohol, marijuana and other psychoactive drugs are chemically complex molecules. The absorption and action of these molecules within the body are harder to predict.
While some states are beginning to pass “marijuana-impaired driving” laws, it’s still unclear what the illegal measured blood threshold level should be for drivers using marijuana.
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Sourced from: washingtonpost.com, Stoned drivers are a lot safer than drunk ones, new federal data show
Published On: Feb 18th 2015