Abstract for: Cortisol Dynamics in Various Stress-Related Disorders

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other stress-related conditions represent a serious medical burden both on individual and societal level. Accordingly, substantial research effort has been focused on different pathological and clinical aspects of the disorder. As a result, numbers of endocrine, genetic and psychosocial findings in cross-sectional and longitudinal design have been published, without unifying “model”. The simulation model we present tries to propose a way how to face this challenge. Supposing the central role of stress response system dynamics (namely “stress hormone” cortisol), the model connects different measurable data allowing more or less individualized simulation over time. A sub-model includes current treatment strategies and their potential impact on cortisol dynamics that seems to be crucial for patients´ well-being. Final part of this paper is devoted to an expert system based on the interconnected set of sub-models. Its purpose is to show cortisol dynamics in healthy controls and stress-related disorders in interaction with psychiatric, endocrine and genetic variables and support the clinician’s decision process. The simulator now also serves in education of healthcare professionals.