Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Major/Program

Chemistry

First Advisor's Name

Kenneth Furton

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Stefan Rose

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Yong Cai

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Joong-ho Moon

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Nadja Schreiber Compo

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Keywords

epilepsy, seizures, volatile organic compounds

Date of Defense

10-31-2017

Abstract

Studies have shown that some canines have the ability to predict seizures in people with epilepsy, and that canines can be trained to recognize changes in humans before an epileptic seizure and make these predictions. It is not known with any certainty to what the canines are alerting. However, canines’ exceptional sense of smell and their ability to discriminate human scent is well established. Therefore, it is possible that the canines could be responding to an olfactory cue, such as the release of some volatile organic compounds (VOCs) prior to the onset of a seizure.

Individuals release a wide array of VOCs, both odorous and non-odorous, from their bodies. The odorous VOCs collectively make up human scent and a number of these VOCs have been identified as biomarkers of different diseases. Evidence suggests that canines can perceive these biomarkers, leading to early detection of underlying physical ailments before individuals are aware of their own symptoms.

The main purpose of this study was to use headspace solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME) with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to analyze hand odor, saliva and breath samples from epileptic with and without seizure activity to determine if the human scent profiles resulting from a seizure event differs from the scent profiles in the absence of seizure activity. the HS-SPME-GC-MS method was also used to analyze and compare hand odor, saliva and breath samples of healthy individuals and epilepsy patients to determine if the profiles can be differentiated.

Comparison of the VOCs in each specimen from healthy individuals and epileptic patients revealed compounds that could be used as potential biomarkers to differentiate between healthy and epileptic individuals. Comparison of the VOCs in each specimen from epileptic patients with and without seizure activity revealed compounds that could be used as potential biomarkers for epileptic seizures. Finally, canine trials were used to verify that these compounds are indeed biomarkers. The canine trials showed that one compound – menthone – is definitely released by the body in relation to seizures and can possibly be a biomarker for epileptic seizures.

Identifier

FIDC004043

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