Here’s a new way to find out a person’s stress level

American researchers have developed a microchip to measure a person’s stress level in real time. This makes it possible to quantify the stress hormones in a drop of blood. This technology holds great promise and could evolve even further.

Monitor Hormone Levels

Hormones such as ACTH, adrenaline or cortisol are involved in stress management. They also play a diverse role in health and in particular with regard to sleep. Indeed, too high levels of these hormones lead to a reduction in sleep quality. So individuals exposing oneself to more stress and therefore a higher risk of panic, heart attacks and other health problems.

When it comes to cortisol, measuring the level usually involves going to a lab. However, the process is quite expensive. In the journal Science Advances on June 30, 2021, researchers from Rutgers University (USA) have a new way of check cortisol levels daily. The target? Enable individuals to receive treatment in a shorter time frame.

microchip device for stress analysis
Credits: Rutgers University / Science Progress

Measuring stress, but not only

In their publication, the scientists explain that they used the same technologies as those used for computers. They have made sensors thinner than a human hair (nanosensors) with the ability to detect biomolecules at very low concentrations. These kinds of processes allow patients to monitor their hormone levels. It thus becomes possible to measure stress, but also to manage certain pathologies such as chronic inflammation.

« Using nanosensors, we were able to directly detect cortisol molecules without having to use other molecules or particles as markers« said in a statement Reza Mahmoedi, a researcher at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rutgers University and lead author of the study.

This technology has potential, as it could analyze cortisol levels through other fluids such as saliva or urine. This would simplify things even more as it would be a non-invasive procedure that does not require an injection. In addition, this work gives hope to eliminate the use of large appliances. Monitoring hormone levels can indeed integrate with a connected portable device.