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Shiseido researches stress in closed-off environments to simulate ISS conditions
by Staff Writers
Tokyo, Japan (SPX) Feb 27, 2018

Circadian rhythm of stress hormone disrupted, distortion in facial expression increased

Shiseido and JAXA have conducted a joint research using a closed-off chamber environment training facility ("the isolation chamber") in JAXA's Tsukuba Space Center and observed a disruption in the circadian rhythm of salivary stress hormone (cortisol) and an increased distortion in facial expression during the stay in the isolation chamber.

The team has discovered the possibility of quick stress self-assessment by studying changes in saliva and facial expression.

Based on the results of this ongoing joint research, Shiseido will pursue the development of comprehensive beauty solutions to minimize the effects of stress on skin and body, while JAXA will leverage the results to establish a stress assessment method for astronauts aboard the ISS.

JAXA has been considering the introduction of biomarkers for stress self-assessment so that astronauts can easily check their stress level by themselves when they are unable to receive regular professional face-to-face assessments on their mental and psychological health. As part of these initiatives, JAXA runs tests in the isolation chamber that precisely controls the experiment conditions and tracks the participants' behaviors in detail. (Picture 1)

Shiseido, in its turn, has long been engaged in research on the relationship between stress and skin/immune system, and has joined three JAXA's tests since January 2016, which resulted in the following findings:

Picture 1: The Isolation Chamber

1.The circadian rhythm of salivary cortisol was disrupted at the beginning of the stay and one day before the end of the stay in the isolation chamber. 2.The results of facial distortion test, which involved measuring the left-right symmetry of facial expression, etc., showed an increase in the distortion level during the stay in the isolation chamber.

The results of this research suggest that the distortion in salivary cortisol level and facial expression may act as stress biomarkers and can be used not only in the space environment but also in a broader range of contexts.

The results also revealed the possibility to easily apply facial distortion as a stress biomarker for various situations in daily life including daily stress assessment and remote assessment such as between space and the earth. These results were introduced at the 63rd Annual Meeting of Japan Society of Aerospace and Environmental Medicine.

On March 2, 2018, Shiseido's researcher Dr. Junichi Hosoi, who has long been involved in research on the relationship between stress and skin/immune system, will present the results of this research at I-ISEF (ISEF for Industries), a side event of the 2nd International Space Exploration Forum (ISEF).

Isolation test using the isolation chamber

In an isolation test, eight participants selected through open recruitment stay in the isolation chamber for two weeks with baseline data collected before entering and after exiting the chamber. As of February 20, 2018, five isolation tests have been completed, three of which Shiseido took part in.

Details of joint research results

1. Salivary cortisol

It is known that optimally performing cortisol follows a pattern called the "cortisol curve" and in a healthy curve, cortisol is high in the morning and tapers off through the day and evening. During this test, the salivary cortisol level was measured four times a day (in the morning, at noon, in the afternoon and at night).

The results of the past three tests showed a distortion in the circadian rhythm of cortisol (increase in cortisol level at noon and in the afternoon) at the beginning of the stay and one day before the end of the stay in the isolation chamber, meaning that the stress level increased. The levels went back to normal after leaving the isolation chamber. (Chart 1)

2. Facial distortion

Shiseido measured facial distortion level based on the symmetry in facial expression. The results showed that facial distortion was developed during the stay in isolation. (Chart 2)

Related Links
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
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