Salivary alpha-amylase activity and stress in Japan air self-defense force cargo pilots involved in Iraq reconstruction

Authors

  • Naotaka Iizuka,

    1. Division of Community Oral Health Science, Department of Health Promotion, School of Dentistry, Kyushu Dental College, 2-6-1 Manazuru, Kokurakita-ku, Kitakyushu, Japan
    2. Department of Clinical Dentistry, Medical SQ, Air Base Group, Western Aircraft Control and Warning Wing, Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), Kasuga, Fukuoka, Japan
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  • Shuji Awano,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Community Oral Health Science, Department of Health Promotion, School of Dentistry, Kyushu Dental College, 2-6-1 Manazuru, Kokurakita-ku, Kitakyushu, Japan
    • Division of Community Oral Health Science, Department of Health Promotion, Kyushu Dental College, 2-6-1 Manazuru, Kokurakita-ku, Kitakyushu, Japan
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  • Toshihiro Ansai

    1. Division of Community Oral Health Science, Department of Health Promotion, School of Dentistry, Kyushu Dental College, 2-6-1 Manazuru, Kokurakita-ku, Kitakyushu, Japan
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Abstract

Objectives:

This study aimed to verify whether salivary α-amylase enzyme activity (Amy) is useful as a biomarker of stress in pilots working in a stressful environment.

Methods:

The subjects in this study were nine Japan air self-defense force pilots who participated in Iraq reconstruction support activity in Kuwait. Amy was measured using a portable salivary amylase monitor at preflight, postflight, and on stand-by day. In addition, the state-trait anxiety inventory was administered with state scores (STAI-S) compared to Amy levels.

Results:

There were greater differences in Amy levels at baseline compared to STAI-S scores between subjects on the stand-by day. Amy levels at preflight tended to increase compared to those on stand-by day as did STAI-S. The change in Amy level at postflight varied among the pilots. The Amy levels of four subjects at postflight were elevated compared to levels at preflight, while the STAI-S scores for all pilots at postflight were lower than at preflight.

Conclusions:

This study suggests that the Amy level of pilots can reflect subtle individual differences in response to the psychological and physiological stress of a flight task. Thus, monitoring Amy level may be useful for stress evaluation of pilots working in a stressful environment, providing data that might be used as an impetus for addressing stress management for this population. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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