Measuring Salivary Alpha-Amylase in the Undergraduate Neuroscience Laboratory
Undergraduate courses in biopsychology, neuroscience, and physiology often include laboratory exercises that examine responses to stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system with measurements of heart rate, blood pressure, or galvanic skin levels (sweat response). A newer bioindicator of the sympathetic nervous system is salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) measured with a colorimetic enzyme assay. Undergraduate students successfully measured a rise in sAA due to the stress of giving a class presentation (n=13). Students were enthusiastic to measure a physiological response to a real-life anxiety producing situation. We describe potential difficulties in the assay and our adaptations to the manufacturer’s protocol to make it more feasible in the undergraduate setting.
Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education
A23 - A27