Sniffer Dog Diabetes | Isoprene Human Breath | Chemistry Article

How sniffer dogs can spot diabetes?

Diabetes Sniffing Dogs – WorldOfChemicals

Do you ever think, can a sniffer dog can able to spot the patients with specific disease?

Once you read this question, as an immidiate reaction in your mind one question will araise within no matter of time and you will be start thinking.... 

How it is possible?
How it can able to spot?

All this ability came to sniffer dogs by a chemical found in your breath, that could provide a indication to warn of dangerously low blood sugar levels in patients.

What is meant by low blood sugar levels?

The glucose levels less than 70 mg/dl is considered to be as low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. Usually low blood sugar can happen in people with diabetes who take medicines every now and then, for a small things which indirectly effect on insulin hormone levels in the body. Other reasons for low blood sugar or hypoglycemia conditions are skipping meals, eating less than normal (this condition you will see in case of some people who are thinking to start dieting), or exercising more than usual timings. All of these can lead to low blood sugar for these individuals.

A team from the University of Cambridge has came with a new idea.! The scientists had conducted a test in volunteers, by lowering blood sugar levels under controlled conditions.

The researchers found that levels of the one particular chemical rose significantly at hypoglycaemia.

The scientists believe that dogs may be sensitive to the presence of this chemicals, and suggested that it may be possible to develop new detectors that can identify elevated levels of this chemical in patients at risk.

This chemical is nothing but Isoprene.

Isoprene (2-methyl-1,3-butadiene) is a colourless, volatile liquid hydrocarbon obtained in processing petroleum or coal tar and used as a chemical raw material. Isoprene is produced and emitted by many species of trees and plants. Plants and trees will emit isoprene, to get rid of internal heat stress. This action of isoprene much similar to our regular antioxidants in foods. 


Isoprene is used in the manufacture of rubbers and plastics, such as medical equipment, toys, tires, paint resins, inner tubes, elastic films and threads for golf balls, shoe soles and some rubber adhesives. It is also used in the manufacture of some cosmetics.

Isoprene is also used in can sealants for food containers, corks used in bottles and coatings for plastic packaging; however, good manufacturing practices (GMP) exist where there is any contact with food.

Now at this situation one question will comes to your mind. How only dogs can spot the diabetes why not humans

For this scientists had given an explanation

“Humans aren’t sensitive to the presence of isoprene, but sniffer dogs with their incredible sense of smell, find it easy to identify and can be trained to alert their owners about dangerously low blood sugar levels. It provides a ‘scent’ that could help us develop new tests for detecting hypoglycaemia and reducing the risk of potentially life-threatening complications for patients living with diabetes.”

Once should agree, this is a very interesting capability of sniffer dog!

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