Breath-based non-invasive diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease: A Pilot Study

Breath-based non-invasive diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease: A Pilot Study

J.A. Covington1, E. Daulton1, A. Tiele1, A. Wicaksono1, X. Li 2, V. Eyre3,
S. Clarke3 and S. Pearson3
1 School of Engineering, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK.
2 Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Plymouth, PL6 8BU, UK.
3 Re:Cognition Health, 5 Research Way, Plymouth PL6 8BT, UK.


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In the UK, there are currently about 860,000 dementia cases [1] costing £26.3 billion annually. Dementia is a progressive neurological disease which affects multiple brain functions, including memory.

60-80% of dementia cases are Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Early diagnosis is key to disease management of dementia and AD.
These conditions are progressive, meaning that symptoms develop gradually and become more severe over several years. Existing diagnostic tools are either invasive and painful or expensive and not widely available (e.g. MRI, PET).

Recent studies have shown that exhaled volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be used to diagnose a range of conditions, including colorectal cancer [2], COPD [3] and many more. In some cases, specific biomarkers are associated with these diseases. Breath testing has the potential to offer new opportunities for the non-invasive diagnosis of AD.


[1] Alzheimer’s Society. Dementia UK Update. London: Alzheimer’s Society, Nov. 2014. [Online] Available: [Accessed: 2-2-2018].
[2] Altomare, D.F.; Di Lena, M.; Porcelli, F.; Trizio, L.; Travaglio, E.; Tutino, M.; Dragonieri, S.; Memeo, V. Exhaled volatile organic compounds identify patients with colorectal cancer. British Journal of Surgery 2013, 100, 144-150.
[3] Besa, V.; Teschler, H.; Kurth, I.; Khan, A.M.; Zarogoulidis, P.; Baumbach, J.I.; Sommerwerck, U.; Freitag, L.; Darwiche, K. Exhaled volatile organic compounds discriminate patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease from healthy subjects. International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 2015, 10, 399-406.





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