251450 Use of hair cortisol as a biomarker for evaluation of maternal stress

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 12:30 PM

Patricia M. McGovern, PhD, MPH , Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Dr. McGovern will in this presentation discuss maternal stress and stress-related biomarkers (particularly cortisol), which over the course of gestation represent an integral part of several of the major National Children's Study hypotheses and priority outcomes, including birth outcomes, child body composition, metabolic function and obesity, pulmonary function and asthma, and neurodevelopment. A wide range of approaches and protocols are available to assess maternal stress and stress biology in pregnancy, with differing opinions among experts about their feasibility (including scientific merit) and acceptability (respondent burden). Biomarkers of stress will include saliva, cortisol, and measurement of cortisol levels in hair which may provide an alternative relatively non-invasive and more cumulative biomarker of stress than what is currently studied through salivary cortisol measures. Dr. McGovern leads the University of Minnesota Study Center for the National Children's Study using a HiLo Vanguard Protocol approach. The HiLo Vanguard Protocol is a geographically defined two-tiered approach of low intensity and high intensity data collection effort. The HiLo Vanguard sites have used a CoIN (Collaborative Improvement/Innovations Network) approach for joint learning across the 10 current HiLo Protocol sites. In 2007, the University of Minnesota was selected as the Study Center for the Ramsey County Vanguard location of the National Children's Study. Dr. McGovern is Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota. Her research interests apply health services research and policy methods to occupational and environmental health issues, in particular, issues of women's and children's health. Work in progress includes studies of women's preconception, prenatal and postpartum health and children's environmental health.

Learning Areas:
Basic medical science applied in public health
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Explain the use of hair cortisol as a biomarker that may provide an alternative relatively non-invasive and more cumulative biomarker of maternal stress for use in the National Children’s Study.

Keywords: Child Health, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am academically prepared in health services research and policy, and nursing. I am Principal Investigator for the National Children's Study Center at the University of Minnesota and am Site PI for a formative research project that will investigate the association of biomarkers of stress and self administered questionnaires for stress in a sample of pregnant women to identify the most valid and reliable measures of stress for the main study in the National Children's Study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.