Facebook PixelCould Breathomics Be Used as a Marker of Aging?
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Could Breathomics Be Used as a Marker of Aging?

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Jamila Aug 14, 2020
Volatile organic compounds (VOC) can be found in the breath, VOCs arise due to the metabolic processes in the human body. Apparently, more than 2000 VOCs exist in the exhaled breath. The VOCs found in an individual's breath can be indicative of their health. VOC patterns have already been discovered for certain diseases like asthma, sleep apnoea, infections, and much more. For example, hepatic encephalopathy could be identified from patient breath samples, as these individuals have elevated limonene compared to healthy subjects.
Due to this research, one could speculate whether there are VOC patterns specifically for aged individuals? If so, could this be a new tool to monitor the progression of aging?

[1]Montuschi, Paolo, et al. "Increased 8-isoprostane, a marker of oxidative stress, in exhaled condensate of asthma patients." American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine 160.1 (1999): 216-220.

[2]Greulich, Timm, et al. "Obstructive sleep apnea patients can be identified by ion mobility spectrometry-derived smell prints of different biological materials." Journal of breath research 12.2 (2018): 026006.

[3]Sethi, Shneh, Ranjan Nanda, and Trinad Chakraborty. "Clinical application of volatile organic compound analysis for detecting infectious diseases." Clinical microbiology reviews 26.3 (2013): 462-475.

[4]O’Hara, M. E., et al. "Limonene in exhaled breath is elevated in hepatic encephalopathy." Journal of breath research 10.4 (2016): 046010.

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General comments

Juran6 months ago
Maybe dogs can help

I recently remembered the dogs sniffing out COVID-19 patients on airports and started to research. Apparently, some papers did preliminary research on dogs' ability to detect various types of cancers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canine_cancer_detection, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190408114304.htm).

The most interesting one was a study on breath samples of cancer and non-cancer patients, where dogs identified lung cancer with a sensitivity of 71% and a specificity of 93% (https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/early/2011/08/05/09031936.00051711.abstract?sid=b4c367ac-6264-4d94-8b46-2b1505bb3fcf). The whole sniffing dogs idea was based exactly on VOCs you mentioned, produced by the patient. As cancer is usually correlating with age, hopefully, the same method can be transposed to our session here.

So, it could be wise to pair up with Shubhankar Kulkarniand help the idea of defining the aging phenotype. To define the most important checkpoints of biological aging, people of different chronological age, with different (presumingly important) age-related disorders, whose biological age (BA) was previously estimated based on current methods, could be brought in for an experiment. Dogs should, from the urine, blood, or breath, be able to detect people falling into the same group or BA interval.

If successful, that could be sort of a confirmation that our BA estimations actually work.
It would also mean that the breaths of these people have something in common and would be intuitive to do the breathomics right there.

If not successful, if dogs sorted the patients different from the current BA estimator, then we would have two clusterings of patients and could compare these two methods.

It's just an idea, not sure it would work. The experiment part should be planned wisely.

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni6 months ago
Juran K. That is a good idea! Link to the session Juran is referring to: https://brainstorming.com/sessions/defining-the-aging-phenotype/14
Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni9 months ago
This is a great idea! Although studies focusing on healthy older subjects (greater than 50 years of age) have not yet identified any significant compounds or “breathprints”, [1] age-related diseases seem to have marker VOCs [2] . For now, probably the best way to go would be to list the VOCs for each of the age-related diseases and score them based on their frequency. We can use a threshold to identify the prominent ones and then check their levels / presence in older people and compare those with those in young adults. References: 1. https://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1806-37132016000200143&script=sci_arttext 2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B978012816413600023X#:~:text=Acetone%2C%20ethanol%2C%20isoprene%2C%20isopropanol,healing%20progress%20in%20diabetes%20patients.
Darko Savic
Darko Savic9 months ago
Multiple sclerosis could be detected via a breath test as well https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3369719/
Darko Savic
Darko Savic9 months ago
Amazing idea! Sounds like a perfect job for AI and a ton of data to analzyze. I know just the guy to consult on viability of such an idea