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    Receiving a diagnosis of dementia is life-changing for the individual and their companion. The aim of the study was to explore the feasibility of collecting salivary cortisol from patients who are informed if they have dementia and their companions. Patients and companions collected nine saliva samples in three batches: 1-2 weeks before, immediately before, and immediately after the diagnostic meeting. Each batch consisted of three samples taken in the evening, after awaking and 30 mins post-waking. 22.7% (N = 10) of 44 invited patients and nine companions agreed, with 18.2% patients (N = 8) and 15.9% companions (N = 7) providing samples. Participants found that saliva collection was demanding and disrupted routines. On a purely descriptive level, some indications of an increased cortisol stress response in patients diagnosed with dementia were found in this very small sample. Researchers should expect low recruitment rates in this elderly population. Simpler collection procedures, e.g. pre-labelled packages with date/time, possible omission of morning samples and objective rather than self-report assessment of waking and saliva collection times-using actigraphy wrist-watches bleeps to prompt people at the timepoints and electronic track caps-might improve adherence and improve the accuracy of timepoints when swabs were actually collected.


    H Pavlickova, A E Russell, S Lightman, R McCabe. Feasibility of salivary cortisol collection in patients and companions attending dementia diagnostic meetings in memory clinics. BMC research notes. 2021 Jan 21;14(1):30

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    PMID: 33478564

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