Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Health evaluation

Chromatography (at the mall?) on swish and spit sample
  [vote for,

NOT for "diagnosis" which would require a licensed doctor? - but comparisons would be available for individuals to do their own evaluation: They take a sample of water/mixture in the mouth, swish and spit it back in the container. Chromatography should allow recognition of chemicals that are typical for specific problems like gingivitis or whatever? At the very least, it should be able to tell people that they have "dragon breath"? That is the first step in doing something about it? OR maybe skip the expensive chromatography, and just train a dog to whine when there is dragon breath?
lewstanley, May 10 2018


       I wonder whether a komodo dragon could be trained to whine when there is dog breath. Probably it would be more of a grunt than a whine. But, in principle, large ambush predators should be very trainable: after all, their livelihood in the wild depends largely on spotting patterns.
pertinax, May 10 2018

       This is not a bad idea. Actually, it would be quite good if it _could_ also flag medical issues, even with the caveat that it's not a diagnosis and that a proper doctor should be consulted.   

       A cortisol test would be easy and fun ("Today I'm 28% less stressed than last Wednesday").   

       In another 5-10 years, it should also be possible to do full on- the-spot genome analysis on a mouth swab or mouth rinse.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 10 2018

       //In another 5-10 years, it should also be possible to do full on- the-spot genome analysis//   

       If that comes true, and I still don't have a working IP3 receptor plasmid, that might tip me over the edge...
bs0u0155, May 10 2018

       Why chromatography ? (which apart from the equipment isn't actually expensive, per se, but is a pain in the arse to keep everything non-contaminated)
FlyingToaster, May 10 2018

       I have an idea on my list that's pretty much this, so I'll just describe it here and check it off my list.   

       I was thinking it could be done using breath samples, collected in small recyclable plastic or metal vessels (possibly supplied evacuated, or designed so that you breathe through them and close both ends simultaneously mid-stream). These would be available at commonly visited places like malls and transit stations, to be used for free. (The savings in public healthcare costs would make up for the cost of this system. Therefore, it wouldn't be available in the US.)   

       You can submit a sample every day if you want, or even one in the morning and one in the evening. Each one has a unique ID that you can scan using a phone app. Nightly, they get taken to a facility and tested by mass spectrometry or whatever. The next day, via the app/website, you can see your results, showing which conditions your breath indicates a possibility of, to guide more targeted diagnosis attempts. (Results can also be shared directly with your GP.) Various cancers, for instance, can be detected early from chemicals in your breath. Halitosis would probably be very easy to diagnose!   

       I had thought of GCMS, but the GC stage is slow and contaminable, as [FT] mentioned. Tandem MS, ICP-MS, or an "electronic nose" chip of some kind is probably more suitable.   

notexactly, May 11 2018

       My experience with IC was a few decades ago : state-of-the-art then wouldn't really be viable for a booth in the mall.
FlyingToaster, May 11 2018

       //Halitosis would probably be very easy to diagnose//   

       Mass spectrometer check for sulfur?
Voice, May 11 2018

       It's not sulphur as such - it's the compound it's a part of.   

       After all, butylene mercaptan only has the one sulphur per molecule, yet manages an amazing olfactory punch with that one atom; yet pure sulphur crystals have very little odour, and even that is not noticeably unpleasant.
8th of 7, May 11 2018

       The other way would be an Iron Maiden type device with ultra-fine sampling acupuncture needles. Biopsy by malling.
wjt, May 11 2018


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