Towards biologically-informed integrated stress profiles in psychiatry

    Stress is a major risk factor for psychiatric and somatic disorders. However, large inter-individual differences exist in stress vulnerability. Currently, we cannot predict who is at risk for the negative effects of stress in daily life. A major reason for these difficulties is that different ‘layers’ contribute to outcomes following stress: genomics, brain structure/function, physiological regulations, behaviour, and the signature of life experience. These different stress layers contribute to an adaptive response but are often studied in isolation. To bridge this gap, STRESS-INDEX will quantify stress by integrating stress layers using advanced analytic approaches in multidimensional data with a focus on cortisol, the stress hormone that coordinates the various stress layers with the goal to promote adaptation. STRESS-INDEX uses recent scientific insights to integrate different stress layers into personalized stress signatures. These stress-indexes are used to predict who is at risk for (recurrent) depression and anxiety, and personalize optimal treatment choices.


    Christiaan Vinkers