Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Salimetrics One World: Profiles of International Leaders in Salivary Bioscience: Professor Angela Clow, Professor of Psychophysiology based in the Department of Psychology at the University of Westminster, London

Each month we will feature an expert from the Salimetrics Saliva Research Community. We will bring together University Researchers around the World in order to encourage the sharing of ideas. We want to encourage Collaborative Research and to maximise Grant Applications / Awards in these challenging economic times. We have made it possible for you to communicate directly with the "Expert" featured. 

This month Professor Angela Clow

Angela's Profile:

Angela Clow is a Professor of Psychophysiology based in the Department of Psychology at the University of Westminster.   Angela is trained in neuroscience and psychology and likes to work at the interface of these disciplines.  For her PhD (Institute of Psychiatry, London) she explored the mechanism of action of antipsychotic drugs, during her post-doctoral studies (Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London) she developed an interest in the biochemistry of stress. In 1989 she joined the University of Westminster where she became a founder member of the interdisciplinary Psychophysiology and Stress Research Group. 

Her current research investigates the physiological pathways by which stress and well-being can affect health and performance.  In particular she studies daily patterns of cortisol secretion, a hormone important in the regulation of day-night cycles as well as stress responding.  She is particularly interested in the ways exercise, light and season can affect health and performance.  Her work has been funded by the Wellcome Trust, ESRC, NIHR, the Bial Foundation, the British Academy and the Nuffield Trust.  She has published over 130 peer-reviewed papers, 5 books, and 31 book chapters or reviews.  Angela is a National Teaching Fellow and a frequent public speaker.  

Interview with Angela:

1. Can you tell us about the major themes in your research program?  

I am very interested in using the cortisol awakening response (CAR) as an index of circadian function in heath and disease.

2. If you had to pick 1 publication in the past 5 years as the "best of your best", what would it be and why? 

I am particularly proud of a small paper we published this year: Clow A, Law R, Evans P, Vallence A-M, Hodyl NA, Goldsworthy MR, Rothwell JC, Ridding MC.  Day differences in the cortisol awakening response predict day differences in synaptic plasticity in the brain.  Stress 17, 219–223 (2014).  This paper is the first to investigate the role of the CAR using transcranial magnetic stimulation.  The finding of a link with brain plasticity is the first direct evidence linking the CAR with brain function.

3. How did you get interested in using saliva in your research?

I used to study neuropharmacology in rodent brains (Institute of Psychiatry, London).  When I moved to the University of Westminster in 1989 that was no longer possible so I had to be more imaginative – saliva was the answer!

4. Which salivary analytes are you working with? 

We mostly study the diurnal pattern of cortisol secretion but have also measured DHEA and melatonin in saliva samples.

5. How has working with saliva changed the direction of your research plans? 

Yes!  Psychophysiology is very broad in its relevance. We have been able to study a very diverse range of research questions using the same methodology (i.e. determination of salivary cortisol secretion).

6. What analyte is not measured in saliva now that you would hope could be measured in the future? 

Oxytocin – this is a potentially important moderator of the effects of stress on patterns of cortisol secretion. 

7. What advice would give young investigators who might be considering working with saliva in their research?

This is a very exciting area of research but take very great care over your methodology – timing is everything.

8. Tell us something about you (a hobby or special interest) that we would be surprised to know? 

I like gardening and bird watching!

Angela's Homepage

View Angela's Citations on Google Scholar 

To contact Angela to talk about her research e mail:  clowa@wmin.ac.uk

To feature your research on our blog contact: europe@salimetrics.com

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Salimetrics Cambridge Saliva Testing Laboratory celebrates "Record Year" of growth in sample numbers processed and new customers served

It takes time and dedication to build a reputation for excellence with any new technology, time to explain the minimally invasive benefits of Saliva versus Serum, time to demonstrate that perhaps we just might be as competitive on price as other low cost laboratories across Europe and time to build the best available laboratory infrastructure across the Globe

I guess our customers have confirmed we have achieved this goal

So, what should you look for when choosing a saliva testing partner:

World leading Salivary Assay Supplier
CLIA certified laboratory (USA)
HTA licensed laboratory (UK)
Over 25 years of Salivary Bioscience Experience                                   
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Facilities to Provide Regulatory Assurance at the Highest Quality Standard for Diagnostic Testing including the best commercially available Cortisol Assay                            
Certified, Routinely GLP Maintained and Calibrated Lab Equipment                            
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Able to Test Samples Using All Current Saliva Collection Methods                             
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Monday, 17 November 2014

Interested in Salivary Cortisol Research? here are five example papers passed to me by Dr Leif Rydstedt, Lillehammer University College, University of Surrey

 Psychologists are using the minimally invasive Salivary Cortisol Assay more and more in order to quantify the results of their stress research

During a recent visit to the University of Surrey, we met with Dr Leif Rydstedt who shared the following Research papers, If you are interested in the use of Cortisol measures these papers should interest you and further your study ideas

The relationship between long-term job strain and morning and evening saliva cortisol secretion among white-collar workers

Rystedt LW1, Cropley M, Devereux JJ, Michalianou G.

The objective of this study was to assess long-term job strain impact on morning and evening salivary cortisol secretion. In all 77 white-collar workers (31% women; sample mean age, 42 years at baseline) volunteered to sample morning (immediately after waking up) and evening (10 p.m.) salivary cortisol for 7 consecutive days. By median split on aggregated self-reported isostrain from three consecutive questionnaires distributed in a period of approximately 3.5 years the participants were classified into a high or low long-term isostrain condition. Regardless of strain condition, there was a significant reduction in morning salivary cortisol secretion from the working week to the weekend, whereas evening salivary cortisol secretion showed no significant variation during the week. Although chronic isostrain did not affect the morning saliva cortisol measures, evening cortisol secretion was significantly elevated in the chronic high isostrain group throughout the whole week. The elevated evening cortisol measures associated with chronic high strain are concordant with the findings in other studies on long-term strain.

The Conceptual Roles of Negative and Positive Affectivity in the Stressor-Strain Relationship
Leif W. Rydstedt, Svein-Åge K. Johnsen, Monica Lundh, Jason J. Devereux

The purpose of this study was to compare the data/model fit for two competing theories of the conceptual roles that Negative Affectivity (NA) and Positive Affectivity (PA) play in the stressor-strain relationship. In the ‘trait model’, NA is understood to be a confounder that inflates the perceived work-related stressor-outcome relationship, while PA is unrelated to either stressors or strain. Alternatively, the ‘situational model’ assumes that NA and PA are directly affected by stressors and are thought to mediate the stressor-relationship. The sample consisted of 731 Swedish engine room officers. Role stress was used as a stressor indicator, perceived stress was the outcome measure, and the PANAS was used to assess levels of affectivity. The path analysis gave strong support for the work situational model (RMSEA = 0.034) while no support was found for the trait model. No moderating effects from affectivity were found.

The effects of gender, long-term need for recovery and trait inhibition-rumination on morning and evening saliva cortisol secretion.

Rydstedt LW1, Cropley M, Devereux JJ, Michalianou G.

The aim of this study was to investigate the long-term effects of need for recovery from work and trait rumination on saliva cortisol secretion. The sample consisted of 76 white-collar workers, 52 men and 24 women who had previously provided baseline data four years earlier and volunteered to participate in the present study. In the present study, saliva cortisol secretion was measured over seven consecutive days, on awakening, and at 10 p.m. No relationships were found between the independent variables and morning saliva cortisol levels. High trait rumination at baseline, however, was significantly related to higher evening cortisol levels for both women and men. Baseline need for recovery from work was strongly related to evening cortisol secretion for women, but in the opposite direction than expected. The present results add to the small but equivocal body of literature that has examined the long-term effects of work strain on cortisol secretion.

Long-term impact of role stress and cognitive rumination upon morning and evening saliva cortisol secretion.

Rydstedt LW1, Cropley M, Devereux J.

The long-term impact of role stress (conflict and ambiguity), cognitive rumination and their interaction were analysed upon morning and evening saliva cortisol secretion. The sample consisted of 52 male and 24 female British white-collars who had participated in a survey study on psychosocial working conditions 3.5 years earlier. Saliva cortisol secretion was measured over seven consecutive days with two measures: in the morning on awakening and at 22.00 hours. Stepwise linear multiple regression analyses was used for the statistical analyses. Role ambiguity at baseline and the interaction between role ambiguity and trait rumination contributed to explaining elevations in morning saliva cortisol secretion 3.5 years later (R(2) = 0.045; F = 4.57; p < 0.05), while role conflict at baseline significantly predicted increases in long-term evening saliva cortisol (R(2) = 0.057; F = 8.99; p < 0.01). The findings support a long-term relationship between chronic stress exposure and saliva cortisol secretion and some support for the assumption of cognitive rumination moderating the stressor-strain relationship. Statement of Relevance: The study is of interest for ergonomics practice because it demonstrates that work role ambiguity and role conflict, typically associated with organisational downsizing and restructuring, may contribute to long-term psycho-physiological reactivity. This could expose workers to increased health risks. Therefore, stress management programmes should include the concept of role stress, especially at a time where many work organisations are undergoing significant change. Management should also be made aware of the importance of communicating clear goals, objectives and lines of authority as well as providing sufficient training for those in new job roles.

The Relationship Between Work-Related Rumination and Evening and Morning Salivary Cortisol Secretion.

Cropley M1, Rydstedt LW, Devereux JJ, Middleton B.

The perseverative cognition hypothesis suggests that worry/ruminative thinking prolongs stress-related physiological activation. This study explored the association of work-related rumination with salivary cortisol sampled at 10pm and the cortisol awakening response (CAR) the following morning. On a mid-week evening, 108 school teachers completed a small diary about their work-related thoughts and gave a saliva cortisol sample at 10pm. The following morning, they gave four additional saliva samples: at awakening and at 15, 30 and 45 min after awakening, along with a rating of their anticipatory thoughts about work. The CAR was calculated as the percentage increase in cortisol secretion from awakening to 30 min, and the sample was divided at their respective medians to classify participants into low and high rumination groups. Cortisol secretion was found to be significantly greater in the high compared with the low ruminators at 10pm, and this effect was not related to leisure activities or work patterns during the evening. For the morning measures, high ruminators demonstrated a flattened CAR relative to the low ruminators, and this effect appeared to be associated with sleep disturbance during the night. Ruminating about work-related issues is associated with cortisol secretion, and our findings support the perseverative cognition hypothesis.

The Salimetrics Salivary Cortisol Assay is reported by independent research as the best commercially available, click this link to view the testing protocol

To discuss this research with the author contact: Leif.Rydstedt@hil.no

If you need further support contact: europe@salimetrics.com