Many of our study participants are young adults leaving home, that is, in the transition from family and school live to professional or academic life. Many of them are first semester students. Additionally, they have already experienced significant adversity in their life, prior to entering the study. They will be the first to test and apply a digital mobile Health (mHealth) device in order to monitor their mental health status over time. Thus, they may directly benefit from specific and individualised interventions if necessary. The development of the mHealth application will actively involve all stakeholders, meaning the young adults themselves, and – if applicable – student associations and student counselling services, in order to meet both the practical and psychological needs of our participants, as well as the therapeutic and ethical demands of the counselling services.
To our knowledge, we are developing and validating the first in silico model of stress resilience, and will use it as a basis for developing a mobile Health (mHealth) product for the primary prevention of stress-related disorders. Our project thus promotes a much needed paradigm shift into the direction of health-related research rather than disease-oriented studies. To achieve our goal, the DynaMORE consortium unites experts from computer science, neuroimaging, psychiatry, psychology, behavioural neuroscience, molecular biology, microbiology, endocrinology, engineering and management who are organised within 10 different, expertise-based work packages (WPs).
As in all studies involving human subjects, the principles of open science have to be balanced with the need for data protection and privacy. For this reason, we composed a separate work package (WP8) within a total of 10 work packages that will closely overlook the adherence to all ethics requirements and privacy rights, and will continuously monitor their strict implementation. All research, data collection, data transfer, data storage and in silico modelling will comply with the new General Data Protection Regulation (effective as of May 2018) by the European Union.
Study participation is, of course, entirely voluntary, and the underlying research will always be made as transparent as possible. DynaMORE’s key goal is not to collect mountains of research data, but to support the overall health of study participants in the most efficient and confidential way. While we hope to never encounter this scenario, it is (based on statistical background knowledge on stress and mental health) realistic to assume that a small percentage of our study participants may develop severe mental health problems during the 5-year-long duration of the DynaMORE project. For this reason, we have experienced psychiatrists and psychologists on board that closely monitor the overall health of each individual, and submit a person into psychiatric care if necessary. Should an intervention not display the desired effect or, in unlikely cases, lead to a negative outcome it will, of course, not be used anymore in further studies.
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