[T]he holy grail of stress diagnostics would be a reliable biomarker; a biological measuring stick that would sum up all the physiological and emotional changes caused by stress and plot them on a simple chart. But is this possible? Oxford Medistress, developers of the Leukocyte Coping Capacity (LCC) test, think so.
The company, a spinout from Oxford University, say they have developed a simple test that, with just a drop of blood, can quantify your stress levels.
The LCC test involves mixing a drop of blood with a chemical called Phorbol Myristate Acetate (PMA). PMA stimulates white blood cells to produce oxygen free radical molecules, a process that is usually designed to fight off microbials. This free radical burst response is measured by the addition of a luminescent marker to the mix. Stressed out and tired blood cells aren’t as good at producing these free radicals, and so the relative luminescence goes down.
Medistress’s ultimate aim is to make the test into a medical device. But, [CEO Rubina Mian] says, “That takes numbers and money. There’s a way to go before it becomes a medical device.”
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