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Cognitive and Behavioral Associations with Hair Cortisol, Aldosterone, and Testosterone Levels in a Serious Mental Illness Population
Serious mental illness populations, including people with Schizophrenia diagnoses, tend have chronic longer term symptoms and needs for treatment and there is a need for measurement of tonic levels of steroids that are not easily influenced by diurnal cycle fluctuations that provide a more accurate account of total production of steroids over time. The literature shows mixed results for relationships between cortisol, aldosterone, and testosterone from blood, saliva, and urine which are subject to variabilities in diurnal cycles. Calculating total area under the curve using fluids requires repeated measurements through a 24 hour day. As hair provides a longer term record of steroids, participants from a community sample of individuals with serious mental illness including Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder (SSD) and other diagnoses were recruited for a study to determine the viability of steroid measurement from hair samples. Several of the relationships found between steroids and stress, impulsivity, avoidance, aggression, and cognitive functioning from other sample types are also found in hair samples. Also, positive correlations were found for childhood sexual abuse with testosterone and childhood emotional abuse with aldosterone in the SSD population. The results of this study provide evidence of altered HPA-axis functioning in serious mental illness populations.
Nabity, Paul S, "Cognitive and Behavioral Associations with Hair Cortisol, Aldosterone, and Testosterone Levels in a Serious Mental Illness Population" (2016). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI10139931.