Hair can be used to determine risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a new study from researchers in the Netherlands.
Hair analysis can be used to determine heart health
A team from Erasmus Medical Center wanted to view trends in the stress hormone cortisol over the course of several months in the elderly, to determine their cardiovascular risk.
283 people between the ages of 65 and 85 were randomly selected from a large population-based cohort study, and gave 3cm long hair samples taken from close to the scalp.
The researchers used a scalp hair analysis to view their cortisol levels over a three month period, unlike a blood test that captures stress hormones at a single moment in time.
Writing in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, they found that participants with high cortisol levels were more likely to have a history of coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes or peripheral arterial disease.
Lead author Laura Manenschijn, MD, said: "Like high blood pressure or abdominal fat, the findings suggest elevated cortisol levels are an important signal that an individual is at risk of cardiovascular disease.”
"Because scalp hair can capture information about how cortisol levels have changed over time, hair analysis gives us a better tool for evaluating that risk.”
Co-author Elisabeth van Rossum, MD, PhD, said: "The data showed a clear link between chronically elevated cortisol levels and cardiovascular disease.”
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