Over 4,000 compounds detected in blood samples

Friday, February 25, 2011

TORONTO - Researchers have detected the presence of a mind boggling 4,229 compounds in human blood samples, up from the dozen or so listed medically, based on a three-year exhaustive analysis.

“Right now a medical doctor analysing the blood of an ailing patient looks at something like 10 to 20 chemicals,” said University of Alberta biochemist David Wishart in Canada.

“We’ve identified 4,229 blood chemicals that doctors can potentially look at to diagnose and treat health problems,” reports the journal Public Libary of Science One.

Blood chemicals, or metabolites, are routinely analysed by doctors to diagnose conditions like diabetes and kidney failure, according to an Alberta statement.

Wishart says the new research opens up the possibility of diagnosing hundreds of other diseases that are characterised by an imbalance in blood chemistry.

Wishart led more than 20 researchers at six different institutions using modern technology to validate past research. The team also conducted its own lab experiments to break new ground on the content of human-blood chemistry.

“This is the most complete chemical characterisation of blood ever done,” said Wishart. “We now know the normal values of all the detectable chemicals in blood.”

Wishart says “the blood chemistry is the first thing to change when a person is developing a dangerous condition like high cholesterol.”

The database created by Wishart is open access, meaning anyone can log on and find the expanded list of blood chemicals.

“With this new database doctors can now link a specific abnormality in hundreds of different blood chemicals with a patient’s specific medical problem,” said Wishart.

Filed under: Medicine, World

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