Yawning and Cortisol as a Potential Biomarker for Early Detection of Multiple Sclerosis
Cortisol is essential to the regulation of the immune
system and yawning is a pathological symptom of multiple sclerosis
(MS). Electromyography activity (EMG) in the jaw muscles typically
rises when the muscles are moved and with yawning is highly
correlated with cortisol levels in healthy people. Saliva samples from
59 participants were collected at the start and after yawning, or at the
end of the presentation of yawning-provoking stimuli, in the absence
of a yawn, together with EMG data and questionnaire data: Hospital
Anxiety and Depression Scale, Yawning Susceptibility Scale,
General Health Questionnaire, demographic, health details. Exclusion
criteria: chronic fatigue, diabetes, fibromyalgia, heart condition, high
blood pressure, hormone replacement therapy, multiple sclerosis,
stroke. Significant differences were found between the saliva cortisol
samples for the yawners, t (23) = -4.263, p = 0.000, as compared with
the non-yawners between rest and post-stimuli, which was nonsignificant.
Significant evidence was found to support the Thompson
Cortisol Hypothesis suggesting that rises in cortisol levels are
associated with yawning. Further research is exploring the use of
cortisol as an early diagnostic tool for MS. Ethics approval granted
and professional code of conduct, confidentiality, and safety issues
are approved therein.
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