Scalp Hair Analysis Used to Determine Risk for Heart Disease

Over the course of three months, researchers at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam in The Netherlands used a rather unconventional method to determine elderly individuals’ risks for heart disease — by using scalp hair analysis.

“Because scalp hair can capture information about how cortisol levels have changed over time, hair analysis gives us a better tool for evaluating that risk.” said study co-author Laura Manenschijn, MD, in a press release. “The data showed a clear link between chronically elevated cortisol levels and cardiovascular disease,” added study coauthor Elisabeth van Rossum, MD, PhD.
Scientists checked cortisol levels via scalp hair analysis of 300 seniors. They found that those with elevated levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, were more likely to be at risk for cardiovascular disease. They also found that these tested individuals had a common denominator — a history of smoking, diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, and coronary heart disease.