Targeting body-brain interactions in mental health disorders

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To survive, organisms maintain homeostasis by predicting, detecting, and regulating the internal state of their body. Many neuropsychiatric disorders show profound disruptions in homeostatic processes, including motivational drive, appetite, and interoception. This talk will outline how cognitive neuroscience could inform novel treatment development targeting bodily signals or their interpretation for mental health disorders, and how to move research from discovery science into early clinical trials. I will discuss two recent attempts: an experimental medicine study in healthy controls (Nord & Dalmaijer et al., 2021, Current Biology), and a neuroimaging analysis of interoceptive datasets in a transdiagnostic psychiatric population (Nord et al., 2021, The American Journal of Psychiatry). I will then outline how experimental work informs broader theoretical perspectives on the role of interoception in mental health treatment (Nord & Garfinkel, 2022, Trends in Cognitive Sciences), including the possibility for novel augmentative treatment strategies informed by basic cognitive science (Nord et al., 2023, Nature Mental Health), and the role computational psychiatry could play in treatment development (Dercon…Nord et al., Under Review).