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Blood and Spit Test to Detect Burnout

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on February 22, 2011 at 6:45 PM
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 Blood and Spit Test to Detect Burnout

Now a simple blood test and spit test can detect a burnout before it actually happens, say researchers Dr. Sonia Lupien and Robert-Paul Juster. The study also found that if burnouts are ignored they might put distressed workers at a greater risk of physical and psychological problems. According to estimates prepared by the International Labor Organization, 10% of North Americans and Europeans are diagnosed with burnout, clinical depression or anxiety related to work.

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Cortisol (hormone released during stress) levels are often high among people with depression, while in case of burnout cortisol level is low. Misbalanced cortisol levels are bad for mental and physical wellbeing. A domino effect (chain reaction which causes similar changes) is exerted on the connected biological systems which increase the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and immune problems. 30 middle aged people were part of this study. The allostatic load (physiologic effect of chronic exposure to stress) among these participants was calculated by looking at the insulin, glucose, cholesterol levels and the blood pressure. Besides the blood tests, participants were asked to collect samples of saliva at home and in the laboratory. They were also required to fill out questionnaires related to their current stress levels and symptoms of burnout or depression. This study can help detect the health problems before they actually occur.

Generally people with burnout are treated with anti-depressants. These medications further lower the cortisol levels. In cases of burnout when cortisol levels are already low, this course of treatment could be a therapeutic mistake. This research is part of a greater effort to develop personalized medicine which targets the customization of treatment according to needs of an individual.

Source: Medindia
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