In science, mental well-being is often considered as the absence of mental disorder. However, it is also the ability to cope with the normal stresses of life and to productively and fruitfully contribute to his or her community (WHO). It is a continuum of having excelling mental health at one end, marked by the state of being happy, healthy and prosperous, to having a mental health crisis on the other end. The public realisation of this continuum is reflected in the surge of personal health monitoring devices and biosensors in more recent years. Managing mental wellness has been further ignited by the burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic, which increased the reported cases of anxiety and depression across ages and brought new concerns around its long-term consequences on mental health and cognitive performance.
With this growing public and medical interest in mental well-being and cognitive performance, it is timely to evaluate established and emerging biomarkers within the context of the mental well-being continuum, from excelling mental well-being to early diagnostic markers of mental disorders, disease progression monitoring and improved outcomes. Mental well-being is continuously challenged by stimulants (e.g., smoking, alcohol, caffeine) and the environment (e.g., nutrition, exercise, screen-time). When the mental homeostasis is disturbed, abnormalities in, for example, neurochemistry, neural circuitry, inflammatory markers and gut-brain communication underlying disruptions in mood, cognition, and circadian rhythms have been reported. The understanding of the interplay of these factors can help to resolve the underlying heterogeneity of disease etiology in mental health disorders, and open new avenues for tailored treatment or prevention. Linking biology to positive (pro-well-being) symptomatology and resilience will build upon advances in tools for disease diagnoses, prognosis, monitoring and treatment interventions.
Thus, the goal of this collection is to evaluate the state of the art knowledge of the mental well-being continuum, early diagnoses of mental disorders, and provide insights into the tools and principles to resolve patient heterogeneity. The collection will also focus on how these tools can facilitate personalised solutions and guide novel possibilities for pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions.
The following list is non-exhaustive topics that will be considered for this collection:
● Discovery of peripheral biomarkers (e.g., inflammation, hormones, peptides) as accessible detection tools for the mental wellbeing continuum, patient stratification and treatment response
● Advancement of neurobiological (e.g., EEG, fMRI) markers for monitoring mental state in healthy individuals, disease onset, progression, and treatment response (also assessing the translatability of pre-clinical to clinical models)
● Biomarker discovery using omics and epigenetics technologies
● Evidence of gut-brain axis regulating mental well-being (e.g., microbiome, probiotics), also establishing links to brain circuits modulation, inflammatory markers and novel links to other biomarkers
● Effect of circadian rhythm/sleep disturbances on mental state and health, and translatable model organisms based research that can support drug discovery and development of mental-health disorders treatment
● Advancements in digital health technologies for remote monitoring disease onset, progression and treatment response (e.g., digital solutions and biosensors for real-time assessments of behaviour and physiology to derive clinically relevant digital endpoints)
● Modulation of mental well-being through stimulants (e.g., smoking, alcohol), drug treatment (psychedelics, antidepressants), non-pharmacological treatment (e.g., TMS, CBT) and environmental factors (e.g., nutrition/chrono nutrition, noise, screen-time, physical activity)
All the manuscripts submitted to the collection will need to fully comply with the Four Pillars of Best Practice in Ethnopharmacology (see here
for further information). We also expect that the MS follow the standards established in the ConPhyMP statement Front. Pharmacol. 13:953205, esp. as it relates to the characterization of the extracts.
Topic Editor Dr. Koshibu Kyoko is employed by DSM Nutritional Products Ltd, Switzerland and Dr. Allebrandt Karla Viviani is employed by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co, Germany.