Loughborough University
10.1088 1752-7155 7 1 017102.pdf (993.08 kB)

The effect of a paced auditory serial addition test (PASAT) intervention on the profile of volatile organic compounds in human breath: a pilot study

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-03-01, 14:46 authored by Matthew A. Turner, Stephan Bandelow, Louisa Edwards, Pareen Patel, Helen J. Martin, Ian D. Wilson, Paul Thomas
This study sought to identify if detectable changes in human breath profiles may be observed following a psychological intervention designed to induce stress, a paced auditory serial addition test (PASAT). Breath samples were collected from 22 participants (10 male and 12 female) following a double cross-over randomized design with two experimental interventions. One intervention required participants to listen to classical music chosen to be neutral. The other intervention required participants to undertake a PASAT that induced cardiovascular responses consistent with acute stress. Both interventions also involved two sequences of cognitive function tests. Blood-pressure and heart-rate were recorded throughout each intervention and distal breath samples were collected onto Tenax® TA/Carbograph 1 thermal desorption tubes, using an adaptive breath sampler. Samples were collected before and after the PASAT. Breath samples were analysed by thermal desorption gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Data registration using retention indexing and peak deconvolution followed by partial least-squares discriminant analysis identified six stress sensitive compounds. A principal components analysis model based on these components generated a model that predicted post-PASAT versus post-neutral intervention samples with a sensitivity of 83.3% and a selectivity of 91.6% for females, compared to 100% sensitivity and 90% selectivity for males. Of the six compounds indole, 2-hydroxy-1-phenylethanone, benzaldehyde, and 2-ethylhexan-1-ol were identified on the basis of mass spectral, retention indexing and confirmation against pure standards. 2-methylpentadecane was tentatively identified from mass spectral and retention indexing, whilst one component has yet to be assigned, although the mass spectrum is indicative of a terpene. Indole and 2-methylpentadecane concentrations increased in response to the PASAT intervention, while the other compounds reduced in their abundance in human breath, possibly as a result of ventilation effects.



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  • Chemistry


TURNER, M.A. ... et al., 2013. The effect of a paced auditory serial addition test (PASAT) intervention on the profile of volatile organic compounds in human breath: a pilot study. Journal of Breath Research, 7 (1), 11pp.


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This article was published in the Journal of Breath Research [© IOP Publishing] and the definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1752-7155/7/1/017102






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