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September 27, 2019 Friday 04:53:45 AM IST

Hair to diagnose depression

Teacher Insights

It's possible that a lock of hair could one day aid in the diagnosis of depression and in efforts to monitor the effects of treatment, said the author of a new study conducted at Ohio State University, examining cortisol levels in the hair of teens.

Researchers looked for potential relationships between the concentration of the stress hormone cortisol in the hair and adolescents' depression symptoms and found a surprising connection. Not only did high cortisol levels correspond to a higher likelihood of depression, but there was also a connection between low cortisol levels and mental health struggles.

Though many researchers have used cortisol measures in mental health studies in the last decade, few have looked at the stress hormone as a predictor of depression.


This study opens up a lot of future research questions and illustrates that the relationship between cortisol levels and depression isn't necessarily a linear one.

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