I used an excerpt from this book to learn about chemiluminescent assays for cortisol. It had easy to follow steps and some great pictures. Basically, serum samples are treated with certain proteins and enzymes that bind to cortisol and that cause it to break away from plasma proteins. Then an electrode is inserted into the sample and a charge is run through it. The brighter the chemiluminescence, the less cortisol is in the same
Nussey, S. S., & Whitehead, S. A. (2001). Endocrinology: An Integrated Approach. United Kingdom: Bios Scientific Publ
OK, so it may be slightly less than 100 ways, but this article provides a wide variety of assays to measure cortisol levels. It also provides great background on the hormone itself. This article also tells how precise an assay could be, what the environmental impacts are, and most importantly, what everyone else is doing.
For my proposal, the differences in the measurement abilities of different tests are significant due to the fact that I’m measuring both salivary and serum cortisol levels.
Kirschbaum, C., & Hellhammer, D. H. (1994). Salivary cortisol in psychoneuroendocrine research: recent developments and applications.Psychoneuroendocrinology, 19(4), 313-333.
Since salivary cortisol measurements are such an important part of my research proposal I tried to find multiple sources to get an idea of methodology. This study used salivary cortisol to test the stress levels in students who had lost a parent and perceived their surviving parent to be more or less caring. Those that had a parent they perceived as less caring had higher salivary cortisol levels after doing something stressful than those with a more caring parent. I thought this study was interesting and maybe slightly helpful when designing my methods section.
Luecken, L. J. (2000). Parental caring and loss during childhood and adult cortisol responses to stress. Psychology and Health, 15(6), 841-851.
Since the link between meditative and mindful practices like yoga and the rosary clearly exist, albeit weakly, I decided to take a look at the mitigating effects yoga has on stress. One study “A Yoga Intervention for young Adults with Elevated Symptoms of Depression” by Woolery et al. (2004) was particularly helpful because the young adults self-reported their symptoms before and after the intervention and the researchers took salivary cortisol samples throughout the study to look at stress reduction. I didn’t see how the article was particularly clear on the results of the salivary cortisol but I hope to use salivary cortisol in my methods as well to measure stress and the possible mediating affect the rosary service may have on stress.
Note to self: there are some confounding variables out there that might activate HPAA. Still, Hellhammer et al. (2008) stands behind the usefulness of salivary cortisol as a biomarker for stress. The picture is just a bit more complex than we previously thought. Hm. That never happens.
Multiple studies have shown the efficacy of TM as an intervention for treating stress. One blind study by MacLean et al. (1997) took a random sample of men ranging in age from 18-32 and tested them in a laboratory setting for acute effects of a variety of stressful tasks. The stressors were mental arithmetic, mirror star-tracing, and isometric handgrip. Measurements of hormones were taken before intervention as a baseline and after participating in TM or stress education classes (SEC) for a total of four months (twice, daily). After running a t test and ANCOVA, researchers found that the TM group’s cortisol levels significantly decreased in both baseline and overall amounts and that cortisol response was markedly more sensitive for the posttest in comparison to the pretest (MacLean et al. 1997:381).