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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Forget Fingerprints, Now There's 'Breathprints'
3 April 2013 5:15 pm
What makes your body different from everyone else's? Maybe you're thinking fingerprints or the DNA that you leave on everything you touch. Now, add your breath to that list. Researchers have found that individuals have unique "breathprints" that change throughout the day and that reflect chemical reactions going on in the body. In the new study, reported today in PLOS ONE, volunteers blew air into a mass spectrometer (pictured), which split the exhalation into its chemical components. Unlike older methods, which required samples to be prepared and then injected into the machine, the device used in this study can directly accept breath and show the results in seconds. The researchers found that individuals' breathprints changed slightly from sample to sample, but always kept a core signature that was unique enough to identify that person. That means that a breathprint reflects what's going on in a person's body and isn't just a random sampling of room air, they conclude. In the future, the authors say that such a technique could reveal the drugs you've been taking or biomarkers of diseases such as cancer. Smaller versions of the machine shown above could make their way into doctors' offices and could be used to detect doping at races without sending samples to a lab.
See more ScienceShots.