Portable blood ammonia detector could be “life-changing”

Good News Notes:

“In people with liver disease or other metabolic disorders, blood ammonia levels can quickly climb to dangerous levels. And unfortunately, checking those levels is not a fast and easy process. A newly developed device, however, could change that.”

“A byproduct of the digestive process, ammonia is converted into urea by the liver, then passed out of the body in the form of urine. Problems can arise when a person’s body is unable to adequately metabolize that ammonia, allowing it to accumulate in the bloodstream.

If the condition is left untreated, physical and mental problems – including brain damage – may result. In the case of newborn babies, that damage can occur within just several hours of a rise in blood ammonia levels.

What’s more, testing the blood for ammonia involves transporting a cold-stored sample to a lab, then waiting at least two hours as that sample is centrifuged and subjected to a biochemical assay. Even then, it’s not uncommon for the testing process to not work the first time around, requiring a second sample to be drawn and analyzed.

With these limitations in mind, scientists at Stanford University have developed a portable blood ammonia detector that can be used anywhere, delivering results in less than a minute. What’s more, it only requires a single drop of the patient’s blood, which is reportedly less than 1 percent the amount needed for traditional lab-based testing.

The prototype, which is about the size of a TV remote, works with cheap test strips that were designed specifically for it.”

View the whole story here: https://newatlas.com/medical/portable-blood-ammonia-detector/

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