The MAS (Mental Adaptation Score), measured in blood, is an objective, easy to interprete color score. The score gives insights in your mental fitness and adaptation to daily stress.
The color score visualizes your need of specific actions. This way you can intervene in time by adjusting your lifestyle and ensure that the balance returns. The MAS is divided into color zones, each of which represents a different risk of chronic stress and stress complaints.
The MAS is not a subsitude for general clinical examination of medical causes of symptoms, but provides an image of the physiological state of the body in relation to chronic stress.
Why testing MAS?
There is nothing wrong with stress in our lifes. Most people need "healthy" stress to be challenged and to feel good. Stress only becomes a problem when the burden (the amount of stress or the severity of the stressful situation) is bigger than our capacity (the means we have to deal with the situation). If drastic things happen or someone is under pressure for a longer period of time, for example due to much work, tension or lack of money, stress can lead to overload and exhaustion of the mental reserve. In the worst case, this results in overworkedness, depression or burn-out.
Biomarkers can help to measure stress objectively and assess the status of the patient's stress respons system. The physiological processes in our body respond to increased stress and olways strive to restore balance. If the stress is prolonged, the physiological processes remain disrupted (ref.1).
Multiple blood markers are involved in these processes. The best-known stress marker, cortisol, for example, plays an important role in acute stress regulation. However, scientific studies do not show a clear correlation between chronic strress and a too high or too low cortisol level (ref. 2). In chronic stress, several processes are disrupted, as a result of which individual biomarkers do not provide sufficient insight in themselves to make a correct decision. So it is important to take several factors into account.
To investigate this, a study was carried out with a set of biomarkers, in which chronic stress was measured on the basis of validated psychological questionnaires (ref. 3). Fluctuations in biomarkers and gender differences, influence of contraception, diurnal variations, etc. were taken into account.
The study provided an association between shifts in biomarkers and chronic stress. Statistical analysis showed that simultaneous changes in multiple physiological processes can be linked to chronic stress.
The figure shows the distribution of a representative population in the differen zones (n=1325). 50% of the people tested have a good mental adaptation. Strong disturbances were visible in 9% of the subjects. These figures are in the same order as studies in Belgium: 21% experience chronic stress and run an increased risk of burnout (FPS, study in Belgium), while 12.3% of employees have an acutely problematic situation in terms of mental fatigue (ref. 4).
The MAS test does not diagnose burnout, but indicates at an early stage whether there are problems that you can tackle. By taking the right actions you can reboot your systems and prevent you from going too far.
Person 1 in the figure above fluctuates between the green and yellow zone and can therefore handle the stressors well. Person 2 ended up in the alarm zone during the first samples. By making more time in the agenda for rrelaxation and social relationships, a clear positive evolution was visible. In person 3, clear alarms were detected wtih the MAS. Just before the 3rd assessment, this person went on vacation, which reduced stressors and allowed the internal balance to recover slightly. A few weeks after the holiday, however, the stressors were again strong. These were insufficiently addressed, resulting in a burnout a few months later.
The MAS can be requested by yhour doctor or taken in our labs in Bruges or Evergem. To be sure that hyour doctor is aware of the MAS, we ask you to email his or her details to MAS@anacura.com. You can go to the same address for more information about the test.
The short questionnaire with the MAS is a supplement to the blood analysis. The answers to the questions can give you and your doctor additional insights to determine any necessary actions. The more information you provide, the more targeted the advice.
1. Seeman et al (2017) Price of adaptation-allostatic load and its health consequences. Arch. Int. Med., 157 (19): 2259-68.
2. Fries et al (2005) A new view on hypocortisolism. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 30 (10), 1010-6.
3. Labo Nuytinck- onderzoek naar biomerkers voor de opvolging van de gezondheid van sporters en werknemers (Ethisch Comité: 2015/0524)
4. Vlaamse werkbaarheidsmonitor, 2018