The aim of this project is to provide simple but accurate home tests for individuals or health professionals such as chiropractors to monitor the correct functioning of important bodily systems that are important for health and well-being. A number of key biochemical substances exist in urine that can be used as markers of health and of disease. If impairment of basic bodily systems can be identified early by self testing for these key markers, and hence potential disease states recognised, appropriate steps can be taken to reverse these and to maintain the health of the population. It is desirable that disease be prevented rather than cured. However, at present there are few biochemical tests that can be applied with the desired accuracy to achieve this goal and hence few tests that serve to demonstrate unequivocally the beneficial effect of spinal manipulation. 

Stress is endemic in our early 21st century society. This proposal is to develop a non-invasive, simple, but laboratory-accurate device for home use, based on our previous experience, which can determine the levels of a principle metabolite of cortisol (the stress hormone), in urine. Such capability will enable the early recognition of stress and enable early intervention with associate savings in both human and financial costs. The project will provide a new research tool that will enable data on cortisol levels and their relationship to stress and other conditions to be collected on a large scale since every individual with the tests is in effect a research technician. The accuracy of this home test will be compared with standard laboratory procedures and then it will be used in a new study to establish normal levels and user protocols.

The tests will be used by volunteers to measure their cortisol levels throughout the day and it will be possible for individuals to determine rapidly whether they are in a state of elevated cortisol excretion (and hence under stress) by the simple urine tests. 

It has been shown also in recent research by chiropractors, particularly at Macquarie University, that the hormone cortisol (the stress hormone) responds in parallel with manipulation for diseases such as asthma but no simple tests exist which allow the profession to establish their findings in the general population. The two new non-invasive test systems that will be developed in this project are suitable for measurement of a urinary form of cortisol in home or clinic settings. The aim is that the results obtained from these simple home or clinic tests will be as accurate as most laboratory methods for the same biomarkers and hence can be used in research in clinics. 

Grant Value: $79,500
Chief Investigator: Dr Len Maxwell
Status: Complete

Final Report:

Maxwell L., Self testing of cortisol for well-being – May 2008