London: Researchers have developed a new device that can tell if an asthma sufferer is close to having an attack hours in advance. The handheld sensor could give patients vital time to take anti-inflammatory medicines and prevent a serious episode that may otherwise land them in hospital. The Siemens device is the size of a mobile phone and works by analysing a patient``s breath and measuring the amount of nitrogen monoxide (NO). It is so sensitive it can measure amounts as small as one ppb (part per billion), which is the same as the dilution of a cube of sugar in a 50m swimming pool. The Siemens system first converts nitrogen monoxide from a person``s breath into nitrogen dioxide, after which the air flows across the actual sensor.
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