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Stress Hormone Testing Possible With Your Smartphone
- Updated: July 7, 2014
Your stress hormone testing lab may soon be within a reach of your smartphone, as a result of a new solution presented last week at ICE/ENDO 2014, the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society in Chicago.
There are already a number of health applications which help patients gather their health results without leaving their homes. According to new research presented, a simple tube, some software and a saliva sample, will make it possible to carry out a stress test.
“We have designed a method by which anyone with a smartphone will be able to measure their salivary cortisol level quickly, easily and inexpensively,” said lead investigator Dr. Joel Ehrenkranz, director of diabetes and endocrinology at Intermountain Healthcare in Murray, Utah.
To take the test, a patient puts a saliva collector (tube) under the tongue, and capillary action wicks the saliva to an assay strip in a cassette inserted into a reader. A lens and light diffuser are then aligned with a smartphone’s camera and flash, and an analysis app calculates the cortisol value in just a few minutes.
The test will cost less than $5, compared to even $50 for tests sent to a commercial lab, which yield results within a week.
Cortisol levels are typically the highest in the morning and lowest in the evening. Because cortisol is released in response to stress, its levels will vary significantly throughout the day. Estimating a patient’s long term exposure to stress could help doctors treat them for such diseases as diabetes, heart disease, or depression.
“Parts of the United States and the rest of the world that lack facilities to measure cortisol will now be able to perform this essential diagnostic test,” said Dr Ehrenkranz.