Changes in Salivary Alpha-Amylase Activity to Mental Calculation and Footbath

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Hiromi Haginoya
Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
Yuka Saeki, PhD
Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, Tsukuba University, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

Learning Objective 1: get the way how to evaluate degree of stress in patients.

Learning Objective 2: know that foot bath is useful for palliative care.

Purpose: This study was designed to investigate whether salivary α-amylase activity (sAA) changes to stressful or comfortable stimulation in human, and whether sAA is useful to evaluate degree of stress in human.

Methods: Healthy female subjects (n=7, 27.9 ± 8.7 yrs.) experienced mental arithmetic calculation as a stressful stimulation and foot steam bath as a comfortable stimulation.  Electrocardiogram and skin conductance (SC) as autonomic functions, and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) as subjective sensation were also measured besides sAA.   Approval for the present study was obtained from University of Tsukuba Ethical Committee.

Results: All measurements increased significantly following mental arithmetic calculation and continued to after the end of calculation.  Salivary α-amylase activity increased significantly from 29.3 ± 20.6 kU/L (mean ± SD) before calculation to 56.6 ± 41.3 kU/L at the end of it.  These results indicate that sympathetic nerve activity might increase following mental arithmetic calculation.  VAS also increased significantly following the calculation, suggesting that subjects might experience stressful by calculation.  Foot steam bath brought significant decreases in sAA from 35.3 ± 38.0 kU/L before it to 20.0 ± 19.4 kU/L at the end of it.  SC also decreased significantly.  These results obtained from foot steam bath suggest that sympathetic nerve activity must decrease by comfortable sensation of foot bath.  The correlation of sAA with heart rate (HR) or SC was r=0.702 or r=0.631, respectively, resulting in there was significant correlation between sAA and HR or SC.

Conclusion: Since there were good correlations between sAA response and HR, SC, or VAS response to both stimulation, it is suggested that sAA must be a useful marker as stress like other autonomic function.  Furthermore, it is easy to measure sAA without harm to human body, and sAA could use in assessment of stress or degree of its improvement.