Stress Hormone Tests Measured By Using Smartphones

Soon your love for your smartphones will increase, as the new collection of health apps will help you with your stress hormone test. Yes now you can measure whether the level of your stress by using your smartphone.

Researchers developed a device capable of using any smartphone to measure levels of a stress hormone, cortisol, in a sample of saliva. The research was presented during the ICE/ENDO 2014, the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society in Chicago on Tuesday.

Our team has devised a fast, accurate and economical, smartphone-based test to measure salivary cortisol levels that incorporates a disposable testing strip, Joel R. L. Ehrenkranz, the study’s lead author and director of diabetes and endocrinology of the Department of Medicine at Intermountain Healthcare, said.

“The device is a reader that includes a case, a light pipe, and a lens and costs about a dollar to make. There is no battery power and it’s unbreakable, passive and reusable,” explained Ehrenkranz in a recent press release.

The test will cost merely as much as $1 and will give results instantly. Joel Ehrenkranz says, “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”.

Project collaborator Dr. Randall Polson, senior optical engineer in the College of Engineering at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, wrote in an email, “We are trying to make sure a skilled 8th-grader – a 12-year-old – can get accurate results.”

“The measurement system’s smartphone and reader act as a photo studio. . . . The complex and difficult processes are put into the strip chemistry and embedded into the smartphone application, so if you have a charged phone and a test kit you can get accurate results without complicated infrastructure and highly trained technicians,” Polson wrote.

Cortisol is an important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands and involved in the functions like proper glucose metabolism, Regulation of blood pressure, Insulin release for blood sugar maintanence, Immune function, Inflammatory response. Located inside the brain, the pituitary gland regulates the amount of cortisol released by the adrenal glands.

Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.

To take the test, a person puts their saliva on an assay strip in a cassette that is inserted into a reader, which then aligns a lens and light diffuser with a smartphone’s camera and flash. The smartphone image analysis app quantifies the cortisol value.

The Ministry of Public Health of Thailand is planning to introduce the  cortisol test later this year.

The team believe the test could aid the doctors in more readily diagnosing the hypercortisolism, as well as people who are at risk from psychotic depression, where the rise of salivary cortisol levels signifies the potential onset of disease.

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