Cortisol, also known as Hydrocortisone is a steroid hormone released in response to stress and a low level of blood sugar. Its primary functions are to increase blood glucose, suppress the immune system and aid digestion. A high level of the hormone cortisol in the body is linked to stress which can be the cause of several ailments including high blood pressure, infertility and obesity - all of which have risen in diagnosis numbers over the last ten years.
Swansea University, in collaboration with Swansea-based company Biovici, are developing a point of care sensor which can detect stress levels using a non-invasive method by sampling an individual's saliva. Prior to this invention stress detection tests have involved taking a sample in a hospital or doctors surgery and then having the sample analysed or sent off to be analysed in a laboratory. The Stress Sensor will give a true picture of an individual's stress levels almost immediately. Swansea University have invented a biosensor chip and are developing a disposable strip in collaboration with Biovici that when placed into a patients mouth, could instantly detect the cortisol level present in their saliva.
To take this product to the mass market, the inventor is working with a number of healthcare companies that specialise in Point-Of-Care products. The Stress Sensor will allow individuals to monitor their own stress levels on a regular basis which is beneficial in order to prevent future health problems, as cortisol production can vary from person to person.
A UK patent for sensor technology was filed by Swansea University under GB1311760.1