Exactly how stressed out are you? Can you put a number on it? Evaluating stress levels could be easier, more objective and, well, less stressful, thanks to a handheld optical system tested recently in the workplace. The system, called Biozoom, aims to help users manage their antioxidant levels, nutritional uptake and general fitness, according to Biozoom Inc. of Agoura Hills, Calif. The reflectance spectroscopy-based skin scanner provides noninvasive analysis of antioxidants and other biomarkers in the human body. The concentration of antioxidants in human skin has been linked to an individual’s stressors, the company said. Based on reflectance spectroscopy, the Biozoom skin scanner system could help people measure and manage workplace stress. Courtesy of Biozoom Inc. So, a quick scan of your palm would collect spectroscopic data to send to Biozoom’s servers, which would then return both results and wellness tips. The technique could replace other invasive and time-consuming methods for measuring antioxidants. The device was developed by Opsolution GmbH of Kassel, Germany, which is now associated with Biozoom. Six years ago, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Lademann, director of Charité Medicine Berlin’s Center of Experimental and Applied Cutaneous Physiology, and his colleagues at Charité developed a Raman microscopic measuring system with German industrial partners for in vivo and online determination of dermal carotenoids – marker substances indicating antioxidant levels. They used the system for studies on anti-aging processes. To test the device on workers, researchers from Charité and the University of Rostock, also in Germany, conducted a study on seven midwives. They chose midwives because of the unpredictable nature of the work and the nighttime shifts involved, a common cause of work stress. Such a schedule is associated with insomnia, gastrointestinal disorders and a 40 percent higher risk of developing coronary heart diseases, according to Charité. The study found a correlation between stress intensity and a decline in the midwives’ antioxidant status, Biozoom said. The Biozoom scanner is now moving from prototype to commercial scale.