Skip to main content

Stress Resilience and Network-Feedback Training

Objective

Acute stress has a profound impact on cognitive functioning: it raises alertness for threat, yet it impairs our ability to think clearly. Repeated exposure to stressors is furthermore a critical transdiagnostic factor in etiology, relapse, and chronification in almost all psychiatric disorders. We know from animal work at the cellular level how stressors trigger a neurochemical cascade that alters properties of widespread neuronal populations. A critical gap in our knowledge, however, is how such cellular effects translate to the level of large-scale neural systems which implement higher-order cognition. Here, I propose a novel framework for understanding such alterations as shifts in network balance: I hypothesize that acute stress causes dynamic shifts in resource allocation at the level of large-scale networks. First, I will leverage recent advances in network connectivity modeling to characterize the spatiotemporal dynamics of such shifts during acute stress and recovery. Using wearable biosensors and mobile applications, I aim to identify which neural markers predict resilience to stress in real life. Second, I will cross-validate these markers in a patient group characterized by high stress sensitivity. Third, to investigate how rapid network shifts are generated, I will examine the distinct roles of noradrenergic and dopaminergic neuromodulatory systems. Fourth, I will test the hypothesis that cognitive functions supported by one network can be disrupted by shifting balance towards another. Finally, I will develop a network-based implementation of functional MRI neurofeedback to train stress-sensitive participants to adaptively reallocate neural resources during acute stress. When successful, this project will yield 1) unprecedented insight into how our brain adapts to acute stress; 2) novel ecologically validated transdiagnostic biomarkers of stress resilience versus sensitivity; and 3) a potentially groundbreaking method for training stress resilience.

Call for proposal

ERC-2015-CoG
See other projects for this call

Host institution

STICHTING RADBOUD UNIVERSITAIR MEDISCH CENTRUM
Address
Geert Grooteplein 10 Zuid
6525 GA Nijmegen
Netherlands
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 2 000 000

Beneficiaries (2)

STICHTING RADBOUD UNIVERSITAIR MEDISCH CENTRUM
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 2 000 000
Address
Geert Grooteplein 10 Zuid
6525 GA Nijmegen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
STICHTING RADBOUD UNIVERSITEIT

Participation ended

Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
Houtlaan 4
6525 XZ Nijmegen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments