Neurobiology of resilience to stress-related mental dysfunction

(image: Sky Motion, Shutterstock)

(image: Sky Motion, Shutterstock)

Stress-related psychological disorders like anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and addiction not only cause great individual suffering, but can also have severe social and economic consequences. Despite intensive research in the last few decades, advancements in understanding the underlying disease mechanisms and in the development of new therapies have been limited. Stress-related disorders are still widespread.

Natural scientists, doctors, and psychologists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), Goethe University Frankfurt, and the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt are working to discover which processes in the brain allow individuals to protect themselves from the damaging effects of stress and unfortunate life events; specifically, they wish to identify the mechanisms of resilience. They hope to supplement pathophysiological research with an alternative approach, in which the protective mechanisms that keep the mind healthy during and after a crisis (e.g., traumatic experiences, difficult circumstances, physical illness) will be examined. The focus on resilience instead of illness indicates a paradigm shift in mental health research and creates chances for the development of new prevention strategies. An interdisciplinary team of neurologists, psychologists, and doctors wishes to contribute to this paradigm shift by developing a coherent theory for neurobiological research into resilience against stress-related psychological disorders, identifying and understanding neurobiological resilience mechanisms, and using these insights to improve prevention.

The CRC 1193, "Neurobiology of resilience to stress-related mental dysfunction: from understanding mechanisms to promoting preventions," like the CRC 1080 and the CRC/TRR 128, is part of JGU’s Focus Program Translational Neurosciences (FTN) and the Rhine-Main Neuroscience Network (rmn²), to which JGU, Goethe University Frankfurt, and TU Darmstadt belong. The network rmn² coordinates central research projects in the Rhine-Main area having to do with increased understanding of and therapy for mental illness.

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