Toothbrush that checks your DNA for onset of cancer and Alzheimer’s could revolutionise health care

toothbrus_pasteYour toothbrush could warn you about the onset of diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s, technologists have said.

Tiny microchips – known as nanopore sequencers – can decode DNA into a digital format that can then be assessed against genetic markers that are known to indicate disease.

This is seen as a watershed in science and could lead to a revolution in health care.

The sequencers are becoming smaller and can be embedded in any product or device that it comes into contact with human DNA, the Times reported.

Clive Brown, chief technology officer at Oxford Nanopore, a company that makes a palm-sized nanopore detector, told the Wired Health medical technology conference the sequences could become ‘ubiquitous sensing apparatus’ capable of monitoring our health.

Nanopore sequencers have already been used to test for Ebola in West Africa and could potentially be used to check animals on farms and in food production lines, he suggested.
DNA passes through a hole on the chip approximately 1.5 nanometres across – 80,000 times thinner than a human hair – through which an electrical current is run.

The current then measures the flow of atoms through the tiny hole and generates an electrical signal which is turned into a digital record.

Written by reporters for The Daily Mail, April 25, 2015.

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