Julie Dobrovolná from RECETOX on measuring stress

7 May 2021 Ruth Fraňková, Radio Prague

Czech scientist Julie Dobrovolná has devoted a significant part of her career to the research of stress. She is currently heading a team at Masaryk University’s RECETOX centre, which is developing a new method of measuring stress.

How exactly can stress be measured? How demanding is the current coronavirus crisis? And were our ancestors more resilient to stress than we are? These are just some of the questions I discussed with Julie Dobrovolná and I started by asking her to define the meaning of stress:

“The definition of stress is used in so many contexts that it is extremely difficult to explain. In physiology, it refers to various physiological reactions, while in psychology, it can refer to negatively perceived situations. In biology it means various environmental factors that affect the cell, organs or the body.

“And in clinical medicine, we perceive stress as a risk factor that contributes to the development of a disease. We don’t know much about the underlying factor, but we presume that there is some sort of psychological component involved. So it’s a very difficult question to answer.”

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