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Home Research Completed projects Stress Markers and After Effects in Children with Meningitis and Septicaemia
Understanding the cause
Most people who get meningitis and septicaemia survive, often without any after effects, but sometimes these diseases cause psychological difficulties that can alter people's lives. Little is understood about what causes these after-effects.
The researchers were interested in whether critical illness leads to changes in the body’s stress response and if any changes were linked to psychological after-effects.
One way to measure the stress response is to look at the levels of two naturally produced chemicals, called cortisol and alpha-amylase, found in saliva. Both of these chemicals are increased by stress. The researchers took saliva samples from children 3-6 months after discharge from intensive care and measured the levels of these chemicals. These were compared with levels measured in healthy control children. This study formed part of a larger study looking at memory and learning following admission to intensive care with meningitis and septicaemia.
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