Dr. Laugero´s research is aimed at understanding the role and underpinnings of chronic psychosocial stress in dysfunctional eating behaviors, particularly as they relate to obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Targeted at many points along a newly identified metabolic-brain axis, several approaches (e.g., functional brain imaging, metabolomics, neuroendocrinology) are being used to study the bi-directional relationship between chronic psychosocial stress and nutritional behavior. The overarching objective of this research is to create and test nutrition based interventions and drive other strategies that mitigate the effects of chronic stress on and facilitate long term changes in nutritional behavior critical to physical as well as mental health.
Chronic psychological stress is clearly affiliated with abdominal obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other features of the metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, chronic stress has profound effects on eating behavior, and psychological factors like chronic psychosocial stress may present significant barriers to long term changes in nutritional behaviors directed at reducing body weight and improving metabolic health.