Observing the human exposome as reflected in breath biomarkers: heat map data interpretation for environmental and intelligence research.

Journal Article (Review;Journal Article)

Over the past decade, the research of human system biology and the interactions with the external environment has permeated all phases of environmental, medical and public health research. Similar to the fields of genomics and proteomics research, the advent of new instrumentation for measuring breath biomarkers and their associated meta-data also provide very useful, albeit complex, data structures. The biomarker research community is beginning to invoke tools from system biology to assess the impact of environmental exposures, as well as from internal health states, on the expression of suites of chemicals in exhaled breath. This new approach introduces the concept of the exposome as a complement to the genome in exploring the environment-gene interaction. In addition to answering questions regarding health status for the medical community, breath biomarker patterns are useful for assessing public health risks from environmental exposures. Furthermore, breath biomarker patterns can inform security risks from suspects via covert interrogation of blood borne chemical levels that reflect previous activities. This paper discusses how different classes of exhaled breath biomarker measurements can be used to rapidly assess patterns in complex data. We present exhaled breath data sets to demonstrate the value of the graphical 'heat map' approach for hypothesis development and subsequent guidance for stochastic and mixed effect data interpretation. We also show how to graphically interpret exhaled breath measurements of exogenous jet fuel components, as well as exhaled breath condensate measurements of endogenous chemicals.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pleil, JD; Stiegel, MA; Sobus, JR; Liu, Q; Madden, MC

Published Date

  • September 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 5 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 037104 -

PubMed ID

  • 21654022

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1752-7163

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1752-7155

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1088/1752-7155/5/3/037104


  • eng