Research Topic

Integrity of the Autonomic Nervous System in Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders

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About this Research Topic

Functional integrity of the autonomic nervous system is compromised in various psychiatric and neurological diseases. Autonomic dysfunction can result inter alia in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular dysfunction, disturbances of the gastrointestinal system, erectile dysfunction and impaired bladder control. ...

Functional integrity of the autonomic nervous system is compromised in various psychiatric and neurological diseases. Autonomic dysfunction can result inter alia in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular dysfunction, disturbances of the gastrointestinal system, erectile dysfunction and impaired bladder control. These symptoms are clinically significant as they lead to reduced quality of life and increased cardiovascular mortality. Dysautonomia has been extensively studied in metabolic disorders but its role in psychiatric and neuropsychiatric disorders remains poorly understood. In neurodegenerative synucleniopathies such as Parkinson’s disease the autonomic nervous system has been shown to be targeted by the presumably pathogenic form of the protein alpha-synuclein even before motor symptoms occur. This observation has led to the identification of novel potential treatment targets and thereby shifted the autonomic nervous system into focus of neurodegeneration research. In neurovascular diseases dysautonomia contributes to clinical worsening and poor clinical outcome, which is also true for psychiatric symptoms, such as post stroke depression. However, our knowledge on how psychiatric symptoms and autonomic dysfunction are interlinked on a pathophysiological level is largely unknown. This substantial research gap does not only apply to neurovascular diseases but is also present in various primarily psychiatric and neurodegenerative as well as neuroinflammatory disorders.

Recent developments have led to substantial improvement in assessing functional and structural integrity of the autonomic nervous system. These innovations might be instrumental to elucidating the pathophysiological mechanisms leading to autonomic dysfunction as well as their relevance to mental and cardiovascular health. Potential clinical implications include identifying novel treatment targets, improving diagnostic work up in psychiatric and neurological disorders and monitoring response to treatment in these patients.

Our Research Topic intends to provide a platform for publications that contribute to the ongoing challenge of defining the role of autonomic dysregulation in psychiatric and neurological disorders. Moreover, we specifically seek for papers that help improve our understanding on how autonomic and psychiatric disturbances affect each other in patients with psychiatric or neurological diseases. Our special issue comprises (but is not limited to) the following specific subtopics:
• Autonomic dysfunction in affective disorders
• Autonomic dysfunction due to psychopharmacological treatment
• Association of autonomic and psychiatric symptoms in synucleinopathies
• Autonomic and psychiatric symptoms in cerebrovascular disease
• Quantitative assessment of autonomic dysregulation
• The psychophysiology of addiction disorders

Acceptable forms of manuscripts include original research articles, clinical trials articles, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, method articles, protocols, clinical study protocols, technology reports, reviews, mini reviews, case reports, perspectives as well as letters to the editors.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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