Stress test will determine those most susceptible

Bosses
will soon be able to measure which of their staff are most prone to stress.

Scientists
at Oxford University have developed a simple test, with a drop of blood being
added to a chemical.

The
chemical causes the white blood cells to react to a perceived danger – the
weaker the response, the more stress the subject is under.

Researcher
Professor David Macdonald said: "It makes the white blood cells react as
if they had been challenged by bacteria. If they have been challenged in the
immediate past, they are less likely to mount a coping response."

While
the test could help stressed staff get treatment, critics say it could be used
to discriminate against employees or help life insurance companies to isolate
high-risk customers.

Stress
is the most common cause of absenteeism in the UK, with 270,000 people off sick
every day as a result.

By Michael Millar

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