INBODY

Interoception of bodily sensations across organ domains and its relevance for somatic symptoms

Interoception of bodily sensations across organ domains and its relevance for somatic symptoms (INBODY) – co-funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) and the Fonds National de la Recherche (FNR). Functional somatic syndromes (FSS) are characterized by chronic, disabling symptoms that do not correspond to observable organic dysfunction, and come at great individual and societal costs. Treatment options for FSS are limited, which is largely due to insufficient knowledge about the mechanisms underlying these symptoms. Disturbed interoception, the ability to process and perceive sensory signals from within the body, is believed to be crucially involved. Therefore, the present project aims to examine several important aspects of interoception in healthy individuals and patients with FSS. Specifically, we will investigate whether interoception is a general ability that shares neural processing characteristics across multiple organ domains and that predicts affective responses. Moreover, we will test whether altered interoceptive processing of bodily signals from different organs can explain the heterogeneity of somatic symptoms, especially in FSS, and how this can be modified by new treatment approaches. Our multidisciplinary research team combines expertise from the fields of psychology, neuroscience and gastroenterology. In interrelated observational and experimental work packages, we will combine state-of-the-art methods including psychophysiological, neural and behavioural measures to improve the understanding of interoception within and across multiple organ domains and to establish interoception-based intervention strategies to reduce symptom burden in FSS patients.

This project is funded by the Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg (FNR), scheme: FNR/INTER

Involved members of staff:

André Schulz, Sam Bernard (both UL), Andreas von Leupoldt, Maaike Van den Houte, Nathalie Weltens, Tabea Eimer, Livia Guadagnoli und Lukas Van Oudehove (alle Catholic University of Leuven)