Smartphone app will measure stress hormone levels
Scientists are working on developing a smartphone app which they say will be able to measure a person's level of stress.
The research team includes scientists from Intermountain Healthcare in Murray, Utah and the College of Engineering at the University of Utah. The app works by measuring levels of the stress hormone cortisol. To use it, a person first puts a straw-like tool underneath their tongue, which collects their saliva and wicks it onto a strip. The strip is then read by using a lens and a light diffuser with a smartphone’s camera and flash. After a few minutes, the smartphone app uses image analysis to measure levels of cortisol.
The research, presented recently at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society in Chicago, suggests that people will be able to assess their stress levels quickly, easily and inexpensively. The app is expected to cost less than $5 and provide results in less than 10 minutes.
The app would be beneficial to both people without any health complications as well as people at risk for conditions such as Cushing’s disease and psychotic depression, both for which excess cortisol is a sign. The app could be approved by the FDA next year.