Earwax could reveal stress levels

26-11-2020

Researchers have suggested that ear wax could determine mental health disorders, including depression.

A study has shown that a build-up of the stress hormone Cortisol can be measured from the oily secretions around the ear canal.

Cortisol is considered as a biomarker for depression, but it is notoriously difficult to measure due to the amount that the hormone fluctuates. However, cortisol levels in earwax appear to be more stable.

In theory, people with mental health symptoms could get their levels of cortisol tested, and this could help to inform their diagnosis.

Lead researcher, Dr Andres Herane-Vives at University College London and his team, have also developed an earwax sampling device which makes the sampling much easier.

Dr Andres Herane-Vives said: "We hope to transform diagnostics and care for millions of people with depression or cortisol-related conditions such as Addison's disease and Cushing syndrome, and potentially numerous other conditions."

For more information click here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-54795657