Reading aloud A hair analysis can detect chronic stress: permanent tension leaves traces in the hair substance and thus provides information about the risk of heart disease. The stress indicator is the amount of the hormone cortisol. This hormone is released during long-term stress and deposits in the hair. This discovery has been made by an international team of researchers and has also developed a way to determine the risk of heart attack from hair samples. With the new measuring method, it is possible to prove not only short-term, but also long-lasting stress. Numerous studies have shown that chronic stress increases the risk of heart disease. "The problem is to measure this level of stress, " says Gideon Koren of the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. So far, this has mainly been done by determining the concentration of the stress hormone cortisol in blood, urine or saliva samples. However, this results in only a selective proof of the stress level at the time of the sample. Statements about chronic stress over a longer period of time have not been possible so far. However, this permanent tension is the major risk factor for heart disease.

To find out about the chronic stress, the researchers now use the information from the hair, which act like a "stress diary". A hair grows about one centimeter per month and the stress hormone is deposited there permanently. "A six-centimeter long hair thus attests the cortisol level of the last half year.", So the researchers. In this way, statements about the stress level can be made in exactly this time span. According to the scientists, this could lead to predictions for future heart-related disease risks.

For their study, the researchers took three centimeters of hair samples from a total of 112 men. Half of the participants were already treated for a heart attack in a clinic, the other half had no heart problems.
The result: In the hair of the cardiac patients, the scientists found significantly more cortisol deposits than in the healthy. Hair samples could therefore be the drug of choice in the future in order to visualize long-term stress and better estimate potential heart attack risks. It could also be used to test the effectiveness of stress reduction treatments.

Gideon Koren (University of Western Ontario, London (Canada)) Stress, online publication, doi: 10.3109 / 10253890.2010.511352 ddp / science.de - Kristina Abel's ad

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