Using saliva to measure endogenous cortisol in nursing home residents with advanced dementia



Two research teams determined the feasibility of saliva collection for cortisol measurement in nursing home residents with advanced dementia. Study aims were to: (a) determine if sufficient saliva could be obtained for assay and (b) examine whether cortisol values exhibited range and variability for meaningful interpretation. Useable samples were consistent across sites, suggesting that saliva collection for cortisol assay is a viable method in this setting. Cortisol values showed range and variability. More than half of the residents showed the normal adult pattern of high morning levels decreasing throughout the day. A third of the participants demonstrated an increase in the evening cortisol levels, while the remaining profiles were flat, suggesting hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) dysregulation in this population. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 31:283–294, 2008