Published March 18, 2013
Think you are stressed? Now there’s a breath test for that.
Researchers from Loughborough University and Imperial College London have identified six compounds found in a person’s breath that could indicate whether or not a person is experiencing stress, the Telegraph reported.
The non-invasive test could potentially aid patients who have difficulty disclosing their stress responses to nurses and caregivers – such as Alzheimer’s patients.
Published in the Journal of Breath Research, the study involved simulating a stressful situation by administering a “tricky” math test. The researchers found that two breath compounds, 2-methyl-pentadecane and indole, increased after stress was introduced and four other compounds decreased with stress.
Since the stress test was fairly tame, the study’s lead author Paul Thomas said that further testing is needed to better understand stress effects on the body.
“What is clear from this study is that we were not able to discount stress,” Thomas said. “It seems sensible and prudent to test this work with more people over a range of ages in more normal settings.”
Recent breath tests have also been developed for conditions such as tuberculosis, cancer, pulmonary disease and asthma, according to the Telegraph.