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App Measures Stress Levels in 10 Minutes

Update Date: Jul 07, 2014 10:06 AM EDT

Phone applications are designed to make life better and easier. Recently, healthy apps that offer tips for losing weight or provide reminders for people with medical needs have gained a lot of popularity. Despite the abundance of these apps, researchers have debuted a new one at a recent conference. The latest app to join this category is a test that can measure stress levels in under 10 minutes.

"We have designed a method by which anyone with a smartphone will be able to measure their salivary cortisol level quickly, easily and inexpensively," said lead investigator Dr. Joel Ehrenkranz, director of diabetes and endocrinology at Intermountain Healthcare in Murray, UT reported by Reuters.

According to the researchers, this new app will be capable of measuring the stress hormone, cortisol. The app comes with a case, a light pipe and a lens. Users can easily take a sample of their saliva and place it on an assay strip in a cassette. The sample is then placed into the reader, which is made up of the lens and light diffuser that are connected to the phone's camera and flash. The app can then read the chemical makeup and calculate cortisol levels in less than 10 minutes.

"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," Dr. Ehrenkranz said. "Also, measuring salivary cortisol with this technology will provide a way for individuals to monitor their personal biometric stress levels easily and inexpensively."

The app and its features are unbreakable and reusable. It also does not require batteries and cost around $1 to make. The smartphone test will cost under $5. The researchers are curious to see how other countries will use the app in detecting different health conditions since it is a lot more affordable and accessible.

The research was presented at the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society meeting (ICE/ENDO 2014) that took place last week in Chicago, IL. The abstract can be found here.

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