OBJECTIVES: Previous studies have suggested that abnormal levels of cortisol and testosterone might increase the risk of serious somatic diseases. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a 5-year follow-up study in middle-aged men. METHODS: A population-based cohort study conducted in 1995 amongst 141 Swedish men born in 1944, in whom a clinical examination supplemented by medical history aimed to disclose the presence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) (myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, stroke), type 2 diabetes and hypertension were performed at baseline and at follow-up in the year 2000. In addition, salivary cortisol levels were measured repeatedly over the day. Serum testosterone concentrations were also determined. Using the baseline data, an algorithm was constructed, which classified the secretion pattern of cortisol and testosterone from each individual as being normal or abnormal. RESULTS: By the end of follow-up, men with an abnormal hormone secretion pattern (n = 73) had elevated mean arterial pressure (P = 0.003), fasting insulin (P = 0.009) and insulin : glucose ratio (P = 0.005) compared with men with a normal secretion pattern (n = 68). Body mass index, waist circumference, and waist : hip ratio were significantly elevated in both groups. However, the 5-year incidence of CVD, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension were significantly higher (P
Prenatal exposure to phthalates may pose a threat to human male reproduction. However, additional knowledge about the in vivo effect in humans is needed, and reported associations with genital abnormalities are inconclusive. We aimed to study prenatal di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and diisononyl phthalate (DiNP) exposure in relation to cryptorchidism, hypospadias, and human fetal Leydig cell function.
We studied 270 cryptorchidism cases, 75 hypospadias cases, and 300 controls. Second-trimester amniotic fluid samples were available from a Danish pregnancy-screening biobank (n = 25,105) covering 1980-1996. We assayed metabolites of DEHP and DiNP (n = 645) and steroid hormones (n = 545) by mass spectrometry. We assayed insulin-like factor 3 by immunoassay (n = 475) and analyzed data using linear or logistic regression.
Mono(2-ethyl-5-carboxypentyl) phthalate (5cx-MEPP, DEHP metabolite) was not consistently associated with cryptorchidism or hypospadias. However, we observed an 18% higher (95% confidence interval [CI] = 5%-33%) testosterone level, and a 41% lower (-56% to -21%) insulin-like factor 3 level in the highest 5cx-MEPP tertile compared with the lowest. Mono(4-methyl-7-carboxyheptyl) phthalate (7cx-MMeHP, DiNP metabolite) showed elevated odds ratio point estimates for having cryptorchidism (odds ratio = 1.28 [95% CI = 0.80 to 2.01]) and hypospadias (1.69 [0.78 to 3.67]), but was not consistently associated with the steroid hormones or insulin-like factor 3.
Data on the DEHP metabolite indicate possible interference with human male fetal gonadal function. Considering the DiNP metabolite, we cannot exclude (nor statistically confirm) an association with hypospadias and, less strongly, with cryptorchidism.
Depression has been linked to an imbalance in cortisol. Until recently, cortisol has been studied by measuring concentrations at single time points in blood or saliva samples. Cortisol concentrations vary with circadian rhythm and experiences, from time point to time point. The measurement of hair cortisol concentration (HCC) is a new method of accessing mean, long-term cortisol concentrations. Recent studies show positive associations between depression and HCC, and prenatal maternal cortisol is thought to influence the developing fetus. We therefore examined the association between HCC and self-reported symptoms of depression in second trimester pregnant women. Participants were 181 women, recruited between September 2011 and October 2013 to the Little-in-Norway (LiN)-study. These women answered the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Rating Scale (EPDS) on self-reported symptoms of depression, and one cm maternal scalp hair was collected and analyzed for cortisol concentrations. Multiple regression analyses did not show depressive symptoms as a predictor for HCC in our selection of pregnant women, while gestational age was significantly related. In conclusion, our study indicated that symptoms of depression during pregnancy did not predict HCC, but further studies of clinically depressed, pregnant women using gestational age as an adjustment variable are warranted.
Cites: Int J Toxicol. 2006 May-Jun;25(3):143-6316717031
Cites: Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967 Nov;17(5):554-676054249
Although the prevalence of work-related stress has increased, knowledge on the contributions of that stress to long-term adverse health effects is still lacking. Stress biomarkers can reveal early signs of negative health effects, but no previous studies have measured both acute stress reactions and long-term exposure to job strain using both salivary cortisol and a-amylase (AA). The present study examines the association between job strain and these biomarkers among shift-working female health care professionals in the laboratory and the field. The 95 participants were recruited from hospital wards categorized in either the top (high job strain [HJS] group, n = 42) or the bottom quartile of job strain (low job strain [LJS] group, n = 53), as rated by survey responses. Participants' self-perceived job strain was at least as high or low as the ward's average estimation. Saliva samples were collected during the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST), preselected morning and night shifts, and a day off. There was a larger increase in the cortisol concentration of participants in the HJS than in the LJS group (2.27- vs. 1.48-fold, respectively, nonsignificant) during the TSST. Participants in the HJS group also had higher salivary AA levels 30 min after awakening on the morning-shift day than those in the LJS group (p = .02), whereas the salivary cortisol awakening response on the day off was higher in the LJS group (p = .05, education as a covariate). The remaining stress-biomarker results did not differ significantly between groups. These data suggest that HJS in shift-working health care professionals is weakly associated with changes in stress biomarkers.
Media work is characterized by information flow, deadlines, and 24/7 alertness. Good recovery prevents stress-related disorders.
The standardized questionnaire included items about health, health habits, sleep, work conditions, and work stress. Recordings of 24-hr heart rate variability (HRV) and four salivary samples for cortisol and melatonin levels were analyzed from 70 randomly selected workers with irregular shift work, and 70 workers with normal daytime work.
Irregular shift work increased the risk of insufficient recovery when compared to normal daytime work (OR 2.0; P
The current study assessed which specific burnout symptoms were most predictive of distinct diurnal cortisol profiles. Participants included 401 day-shift workers employed in a random sampling of 34 Canadian workplaces. The 16-item Maslach Burnout Inventory was used to extract burnout sub-scales that included emotional exhaustion, cynicism, professional inefficacy, as well as a global burnout average. Consenting workers provided five saliva samples a day (awaking, 30 min after awaking, 1,400 h, 1,600 h, and bedtime) repeated three times over the course of a week (Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday) to capture workday and non-workday variations. Multilevel regression models were estimated from cortisol measurements at each occasion within a day at level-1, workers at level-2, and workplaces at level-3. Multilevel regression analyses found that emotional exhaustion and a global burnout showed the strongest and consistent negative associations to cortisol in the afternoon and evening. In a separate analysis using regression coefficients, emotional exhaustion and a global burnout average were associated with low cortisol levels 30 min upon awakening. By contrast, professional inefficacy was associated only with lower bedtime cortisol. No associations were detected for cynicism and sex did not emerge as a moderator in secondary analyses. Our findings are discussed in a theoretical framework postulating different pathophysiological stages of burnout development. Specifically, professional inefficacy may be the earliest warning signal culminating with emotional exhaustion that may dampen diurnal cortisol levels.
Asthma is a common childhood disease and several risk factors have been identified; however, the impact of genes and environment is not fully understood. The aim of the Swedish Twin study On Prediction and Prevention of Asthma (STOPPA) is to identify environmental (birth characteristics and early life) and genetic (including epigenetic) factors as determinants for asthmatic disease. Based on the Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden (CATSS) (parental interview at 9 or 12 years, N ~23,900) and an asthma and/or wheezing algorithm, we identified a sample of monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) same-sexed twin pairs. The twin pairs were classified as asthma concordant (ACC), asthma discordant (ADC) and healthy concordant (HCC). A sample of 9- to 14-year-old twins and their parents were invited to participate in a clinical examination. Background characteristics were collected in questionnaires and obtained from the National Health Registers. A clinical examination was performed to test lung function and capacity (spirometry with reversibility test and exhaled nitric oxide) and collect blood (serology and DNA), urine (metabolites), feces (microbiota), and saliva (cortisol). In total, 376 twin pairs (752 individual twins) completed the study, response rate 52%. All participating twins answered the questionnaire and >90% participated in lung function testing, blood-, and saliva sampling. This article describes the design, recruitment, data collection, measures, and background characteristics, as well as ongoing and planned analyses in STOPPA. Potential gains of the study include the identification of biomarkers, the emergence of candidates for drug development, and new leads for prevention of asthma and allergic disease.
The stress hormone cortisol shows a pronounced endogenous diurnal rhythm, which is affected by the sleep/wake cycle, meals and activity. Shift work and especially night work disrupts the sleep/wake cycle and causes a desynchronization of the natural biological rhythms. Therefore, different shift schedules may have different impact on performance at work and health.
The purpose was to study if health, reaction time, and the cortisol rhythm were negatively affected when a group of shift workers changed their work schedule from ordinary day-night shift (fixed shift) to "swing shift".
19 healthy workers on a Norwegian oil rig participated in the study. They worked 2 weeks offshore followed by 4 weeks off work. The ordinary schedule consisted of 12-h day shift and 12-h night shift every other work period (14 days or nights=fixed shift). "Swing shift" involved 1 week of night shift, followed by 1 week of day shift during the work period. All participants worked ordinary day-night shift when baseline data were collected (questionnaires, saliva cortisol, and reaction time during work). After collection of baseline data the workers changed their work schedule to "swing shift", for every working period, and 9 months later the same data were collected.
"Swing shift" did not give any negative health effects or any negative changes in reaction time during the day they shifted from night work to day work. Personnel adapted to night shift within a week regardless of schedule, but recovery from night shift took longer time. During swing shift the cortisol rhythm went back towards a normal rhythm in the second week, but it was not returned completely to normal values when they returned home for the 4 weeks off period. However, the cortisol rhythms were readapted to normal values after 1 week at home. For personnel returning home directly from 14 consecutive night shifts, cortisol adaptation was not complete after 1 week at home.
We found no increase in health complaints from swing shift or reaction time in the shift from night to day work. Recovery from night shift takes longer time.
OBJECTIVE: Population studies demonstrate that attending cultural events is conducive to improved health when baseline health, income, education, and health habits are taken into account. Animal experiments suggest possible mechanisms. We studied the link in humans between attending cultural events and health in a randomized controlled trial. METHODS: Members of the local government officers' union in the health services in Umeå, Sweden, were invited to the experiment and 101 people registered for fine arts visits once a week for 8 weeks. They chose films, concerts, or art exhibitions visits, or singing in a choir and were then randomized into 51 cases, starting at once, and 50 controls starting after the trial. Health was assessed before randomization and after the experimental period using the instrument for perceived health, short form (SF)-36, and tests of episodic memory, saliva-cortisol and immunoglobulin. The results were analyzed using a mixed design analysis of variance. RESULTS: The SF-36 Composite Score called physical health improved in the intervention group and decreased among controls during the experiment (F(1,87) = 7.06, p = .009). The individual factor of the SF-36 called social functioning, improved more in the intervention group than among controls (F(1,98) = 8.11, p = .005) as well as the factor vitality (F(1,98) = 5.26, p = .024). The six other factors and the Mental Health Composite Score, episodic memory, cortisol and immunoglobulin levels did not change otherwise than among controls. Mechanisms are left to be identified. CONCLUSION: Fine arts stimulations improved perceived physical health, social functioning, and vitality.
The daily rhythms of cortisol (C) and serotonin (S) concentrations were investigated in saliva of children with chronic viral hepatitis HBV and HCV. The changes in chronostructure of C and S rhythms were revealed to depend on the viral type and an intensity of the liver inflammatory process. The circadian rhythms of C and S were found to be desynchronized which was manifested as quantitative (period) and qualitative (mesor value, amplitude of oscillations, daily acro- and miniphase) changes in the rhythm. The daily rhythm of S in children with an active and inactive HBV, as well as in those with an active HCV had the circadian character with a high mesor and an amplitude of oscillations, as compared to the control group. The transformation of the S rhythm was similar to the inactive HCV. Shifts in daily acrophase of the S rhythm were established for each clinic group. Daily C rhythm was not determined in the active HBV and HCV, either. The circadian C rhythm with daily acrophase was revealed for inactive HBV; the tendency to circadian rhythm of such type was marked for inactive HCV. The mesor of the above-mentioned groups didn't differ from the control.