The cortisol awakening response (CAR) and brain plasticity

Using rapid transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to induce brain plasticity in the motor cortex we have demonstrated, in a within-subject study design of healthy young participants, that the size of the CAR predicts capacity to induce neural plasticity. We are currently exploring whether between-subject differences in trait CAR predict trait differences in brain plasticity, eg in adolescents born pre-term. This work is undertaken in collaboration Mike Ridding and Julia Pitcher at the University of Adelaide.