Author: Robert Richer1, Janis Zenkner2, Arne Küderle2, Nicolas Rohleder3, Bjoern M Eskofier2
Affiliation: <sup>1</sup> Machine Learning and Data Analytics Lab (MaD Lab), Department Artificial Intelligence in Biomedical Engineering (AIBE), Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), 91052, Erlangen, Germany. email@example.com. <sup>2</sup> Machine Learning and Data Analytics Lab (MaD Lab), Department Artificial Intelligence in Biomedical Engineering (AIBE), Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), 91052, Erlangen, Germany. <sup>3</sup> Chair of Health Psychology, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), 91052, Erlangen, Germany.
Conference/Journal: Sci Rep
Date published: 2022 Nov 10
Other: Volume ID: 12 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 19270 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-23222-9. , Word Count: 233
Chronic stress is linked to dysregulations of the two major stress pathways-the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which could for example result from maladaptive responses to repeated acute stress. Improving recovery from acute stress could therefore help to prevent this dysregulation. One possibility of physiologically interfering with an acute stress reaction might be provided by applying a cold stimulus to the face (Cold Face Test, CFT) which activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), leading to immediate heart rate decreases. Therefore, we investigated the use of the CFT protocol as an intervention to reduce acute stress responses. Twenty-eight healthy participants were exposed to acute psychosocial stress via the Montreal Imaging Stress Task (MIST) in a randomized between-subjects design while heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (HRV), and salivary cortisol were assessed. While both groups were equally stressed during the procedure, participants with CFT intervention showed better recovery, indicated by significant ([Formula: see text]) differences in HR(V). We additionally found a significantly ([Formula: see text]) lower cortisol response to the MIST and less overall cortisol secretion in the CFT condition. Both findings indicate that the CFT can successfully stimulate the PNS and inhibit the HPA axis. To the best of our knowledge, our experiment is the first to successfully use the CFT as a simple and easy-to-apply method to modify biological responses to acute stress.
PMID: 36357459 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-23222-9