Sep 8, 2010 3:51 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Predicting heart attacks with a strand of hair

Would you give up a strand of your hair to assess your heart attack risk?  Researchers are saying that's all it takes.

The body secretes a hormone called cortisol during times of stress and levels are usually detected in urine or saliva. But Canadian researchers discovered a way to measure cortisol levels in hair, which grows about one centimeter a month.

In a study of middle aged men, heart attack patients had higher hair cortisol levels corresponding to the previous three months, compared to a group who had not suffered a heart attack.

The study was led by researchers at The University of Western Ontario and published in the online journal "Stress."



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