Parkinson’s is one of those diseases that must be studied in human neurons because animal models that don’t have the parkin gene never develop the disease so they can’t be used. And of course we can’t just cut into people’s brains for scientific purposes.
They’re calling it a “breath print” and they say it’s fairly simple to obtain. Samples, with plastic bags rigged to exclude room air from exhaled breath, can take about two minutes to get, and then they are “evaluated by a portable device containing an array of ‘nano-sensors.”
All I could think of when I was reading this report was how we are once again trying to find the secrets of nature–in this case, how a dog can tell its master is sick with certain diseases long before the person knows there’s something wrong. The dog’s nose takes its own “prints” from the smell of our breath, our skin, our body fluids, and instinctively knows things about us.