Identification of schizophrenic patients by examination of body odor using gas chromatography - mass spectrometry and a cross-selective gas sensor array.
Corrado Di Natale, Roberto Paolesse, Paolo Comandini, Giorgio Pennazza, Eugenio Martinelli, Santo Rullo, Maria Roscioni, Claudio Roscioni, Alessandro Finazzi-Agro
Med Sci Monit 2005; 11(8): CR366-375
Available online: 2005-08-01
Background: Previous findings have shown that the body odor of patientsaffected by schizophrenia contains some specific compounds. Chemical sensor technology has proved tobe able to classify different odours. We investigated the possibility of using a chemical sensor arrayto detect body odor alteration in schizophrenic patients. Material/Methods: The sweat of subjects wassampled and analysed by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) and by an array of cross-selectivegas sensors. A total of 27 individuals were involved in the experiment: 9 schizophrenics, 9 with othermental disorders, and 9 controls. Results: GC-MS analysis showed a richer composition for the sweat ofschizophrenic patients. Nevertheless, the individuation of specific markers was unsuccessful. On theother hand, statistical analysis of cross-selective gas sensor data provided a complete classificationof schizophrenic patients with respect to the other three groups. Conclusions: The alteration of bodyodor in schizophrenic patients was confirmed by GC-MS and chemical sensor array. Results show that thealteration is complex and cannot be limited to a single compound, but rather to a global variation ofthe body odor.
Keywords: Schizophrenia - classification, Adult, Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry - methods, Gases - analysis, Odors - analysis, Schizophrenia - metabolism, Sensitivity and Specificity