Integration of Novel Methods to Assess Effects of Stress and Tobacco Addiction
Dr. Mustafa al'Absi, Professor of Behavorial Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School, focuses on the interaction between stress and addictive behaviors
Stress is a commonly reported precipitant of relapse to substance use. There is a growing recognition of the need to understand psychobiological and physiological alterations in the stress response among chronic drug users, and to determine how they may precipitate relapse. Novel methods of assessment including wearable sensor technology provide means to assess the dynamic relationship between stress and craving in the field. I will present in this seminar recent results from our laboratory focusing on biological and psychological response to stress among dependent smokers and share results demonstrating that steep decline in cortisol concentrations during early abstinence and hyporesponsiveness to stress predict shorter time to relapse. I will also present preliminary results from studies using wearable sensors to examine effects of stress in the lab and in the field. Future research in assessment and intervention with stress and tobacco addiction will be presented.
Dr. Mustafa al’Absi is a Professor of Behavioral Medicine and the holder of the Max & Mary La Due Pickworth Chair at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He is also a Professor and a graduate faculty at the Departments Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Family Medicine, and the Integrated Biological Sciences Program. Prof. al’Absi directs a research program focusing on neurobiology of stress, appetite regulation, and tobacco addiction. His focus on the interaction between stress and addictive behaviors has led to important research findings related to mechanisms and predictors of smoking relapse that has stimulated efforts to investigate therapeutic strategies for smoking cessation. An important, replicated finding from his research has been the blunted stress response among smokers and stimulant users manifested as enhanced basal cortisol concentrations and decreased pituitary-adrenocortical response to a range of stressors. His programs have been funded by grants from NIH, NSF, and AHA. His program is currently focusing on: 1) linkages between the biological stress response and relapse in nicotine dependence, 2) the involvement of the stress-response systems in appetite regulation, and 3) the development of novel methods to measure stress and addictive substances leveraging mobile technology and procedures in this effort. He is the current president of the American Psychosomatic Society (APS) and has led various national and international functions and committees. He has received several honorary awards, including the Neal E. Miller Young Investigator Award from the Academy for Behavioral Medicine Research and the Herbert Weiner Early Career Award from the American Psychosomatic Society.