Stress is often called the silent killer because of its stealthy and mysterious effect on everything from heart disease to mental health. Researchers have developed a new device that can easily measure common stress hormones using sweat, blood, urine or saliva.
These stress biomarkers are found in all of these fluids, albeit in different quantities.
“I wanted something that’s simple and easy to interpret. This may not give you all the information, but it tells you whether you need a professional who can take over. The device measures not just one biomarker but multiple biomarkers. And it can be applied to different bodily fluids. That’s what’s unique,” said the lead researcher Andrew Steckl in the study published in the Journal of ACS Sensors.
Personal experience of helping his father with a health crisis helped his research and opinion that a home test for various health concerns would be incredibly helpful.
“I had to take him quite often to the lab or doctor to have tests done to adjust his medication. I thought it would be great if he could just do the tests himself to see if he was in trouble or just imagining things. This doesn’t replace laboratory tests, but it could tell patients more or less where they are,” he added.
Steckl concluded that the intent is not to replace a full-panel laboratory blood test. “That’s not the intent. But if you’re able to do the test at home because you’re not feeling well and want to know where you stand, this will tell whether your condition has changed a little or a lot,” he said.