Low Levels of Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate in Younger Burnout PatientsReport as inadecuate




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Objective

Dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate DHEA-s is an anabolic protective hormone of importance for maintenance of health. DHEA-s levels peak in young adults and decline thereafter with age. DHEA-s has previously been shown to be lower in individuals reporting prolonged stress. This study investigates DHEA-s levels in patients with clinical burnout, a disorder caused by long-term psychosocial stress.

Methods

122 patients 51% men and 47 controls 51% men in the age 25–54 years were included in the study. DHEA-s levels were compared between patients and controls in the whole sample and within each of the three 10-year-interval age groups.

Results

In the youngest age group 25–34 years, DHEA-s levels were on average 25% lower in the patients p = 0.006. The differences in DHEA-s levels between patients and controls were more pronounced among female than male participants on average 32% and 13% lower, respectively. There were no differences in DHEA-s levels between patients and controls in the age group 35–44 years p = 0.927 or 45–54 years p = 0.897 or when analyzing all age groups together p = 0.187.

Conclusion

The study indicates that levels of the health promoting -youth- hormone DHEA-s are low in younger burnout patients. The fact that younger adults have much higher DHEA-s levels and more pronounced inter-subject variability in DHEA-s levels than older individuals might explain why burnout status differentiates patients from controls only among the youngest patients included in this study.



Author: Anna-Karin Lennartsson , Töres Theorell, Mark M. Kushnir, Ingibjörg H. Jonsdottir

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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