The Yale LHM lab conducts translational research on stress and addiction using multimodal methods such as fMRI, ECG and HPA axis measures. This multimodal approach provides valuable, neurobiological information on the dynamic interactions between the central nervous system and its periphery. LHM lab also develops technology-assisted assessments and intervention programs to aid and improve health practice and outcome.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we examine brain activity and connectivity patterns to understand the neural mechanisms and to predict specific risk factors associated with stress and addiction.
We examine heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) using electrocardiogram (ECG), often concurrently with fMRI. HR spontaneously fluctuates, even during resting conditions. HRV is the time interval between heartbeats and allows detection of these fluctuations in specific frequencies. HR and HRV provides insight into autonomic and cardiovascular function. We are interested in HR/HRV’s interactions with brain and behaviors in stress, addiction and coping mechanisms.
Stress responses trigger HPA axis arousal. Glucocorticoids increases dopamine efflux in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), leading to PFC dysfunction and enhancing the reinforcing effects of substances under dyscontrolled stress states. We examine stress hormone responses (e.g., cortisol, ACTH) to understand HPA axis function and its interactions with brain-behavior relationships.
LHM develops computerized and smartphone-based assessment and intervention tools to reach out sub-clinical and clinical populations who reside in various community settings.