This is a newly developed hand held device the size of a cell phone that could offer asthma sufferers valuable warning before an asthma attack – it is a portable sensor that can predict an asthma attack a day before it actually occurs.
The constricted airways and inflammation that characterize an asthma attack can often occur a long time before the outer manifestation can be felt by the asthma sufferer.
The device can sense this inflammation by measuring the Nitrogen oxide levels present in the breath of the person and if there is inflammation of the bronchial tubes.
According to Dr Maximilian Fleischer, who is among the people involved in the development of the sensor, this is the first time that a sensor of this sort has been developed in such a convenient and portable size.
Similar sensors have been available before, but their use has been confined to doctors’ clinics and hospitals hitherto. The machines have so far been too big and expensive for use by individuals.
Since the machine is very sensitive, it can sense an asthma attack well before it actually occurs – this can help sufferers plan their schedules and also adjust medication and/or obtain advance medical treatment.
There is home that similar devices could have other applications, such as detecting fires, acetone, and even lung cancer.