Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Chronic stress and cardiovascular/metabolic disease

Chronic stress is a risk factor for obesity, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, and stroke. Glucocorticoid hormones are elevated chronically in stressed conditions and are thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of metabolic and cardiovascular disease. Despite strong evidence for this, non-pharmacologic therapies to reduce stress are not currently part of standard care for the prevention or treatment of metabolic and cardiovascular disease, and no pharmacologic therapies exist at present to directly target stress systems for this indication.

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Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Understanding how stress contributes to cardiovascular and metabolic disease could lead to additional therapies targeting stress reduction for their prevention. The long-term impact of studies to establish and reduce the negative impact of stress on health could include better outcomes for stress reduction programs at work and strategies to reduce stress at home.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of non-pharmacologic therapies targeting stress reduction are already feasible including such interventions as exercise, improved sleep, mindfulness, and social interaction. Some of these have been evaluated on a small scale, but future clinical trials should include long-term follow up and be sufficiently populated for their outcomes to influence patient care. Pharmacologic therapies targeting the stress system have not yet emerged as options for prevention and treatment, and pose a greater challenge. They will require investigation into the mechanisms of stress effects on chronic disease as well as intelligent drug design to minimize systemic side effects.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Endocrine Society

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Idea No. 890