About Us

The BREATH Lab is an integrative research laboratory centrally located at the Cox Neuroscience Annex. Here are a few of the prevailing questions which guide our program of research


How does aging and its biobehavioral correlates impact brain structure and functioning?

• Dillon, K., Goodman, Z. T., Kaur, S. S., Levin, B., & McIntosh, R. (2023). Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio amplifies the effects of aging on decrements in grip strength and its functional neural underpinnings. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 78(6), 882-889.
• Lobo J. D., Goodman Z. T., Shmaus J., Uddin L.Q, McIntosh, R. C. (2021). Association of  Health Factors with Age-Related Executive Function and Episodic Memory. Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition https://doi.org/10.1080/13825585.2021.191594

How do traumatic events shape brain structure and functioning?

McIntosh, R., Lobo, J. D., Carvalho, N., & Ironson, G. (2022). Learning to forget: Hippocampal–amygdala connectivity partially mediates the effect of sexual trauma severity on verbal recall in older women undiagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 35(2), 631-643. https://doi.org/10.1002/jts.22778

How does HIV make the brain more succceptible to age-related decline?

McIntosh, R. C., Clark, U. S., Cherner, M., Cysique, L. A., Heaton, R. K., Levin, J., ... & Rubin, L. H. (2023). The evolution of assessing central nervous system complications in human immunodeficiency virus: where do we go from here?. The Journal of infectious diseases, 227(Supplement_1), S30-S37.
McIntosh, R., Hidalgo, M., Lobo, J., Dillon, K., Szeto, A., & Hurwitz, B. E. (2022). Circulating endothelial and angiogenic cells predict hippocampal volume as a function of HIV status. Journal of NeuroVirology, 1-13.
• Banerjee, N., McIntosh, R. C., & Ironson, G. (2019). Impaired Neurocognitive Performance and Mortality in HIV: Assessing the Prognostic Value of the HIV-Dementia Scale. AIDS and Behavior, 23(12), 3482-3492. DOI: 10.1007/s10461-019-02423-w


What are the neural correlates of successful cognitive and cardiovascular aging?

McIntosh, R.C., Yang, A., Lobo, J.D., Schneiderman, N. (2021). Intrinsic Connectivity of Insula with Midbrain Cerebellar Network Predicts Blood Pressure Regulation in Postmenopausal Women. Journal of Human Hypertension. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41371-020-00476-2
• J. D., Goodman Z. T., Shmaus J., Uddin L.Q, McIntosh, R. C. (2021). Association of Cardiometabolic Health Factors with Age-Related Executive Function and Episodic Memory. Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition https://doi.org/10.1080/13825585.2021.1915948

How do religious and spiritual behaviors buffer stress allostasis?

McIntosh, R.C., Ironson, G., & Krause, N. (2021). Keeping hope alive: Racial-ethnic disparities in distress tolerance are mitigated by religious/spiritual but not secular hope in Black Americans. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2021.110403  
McIntosh, R. C., Ironson, G., & Krause, N. (2017). Do religious and spiritual identity confer risk for hypertension via psychosocial and lifestyle factors? Journal of Health Psychology. DOI; https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105317748733

Is vagal-mediated HRV a general protective health factor in immunocompromised populations?

McIntosh, R. C., Lobo, J. D., & Hurwitz, B. E. (2017). Current assessment of heart rate variability and QTc interval length in HIV/AIDS. Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS, 12(6), 528-533. DOI:  10.1097/COH.0000000000000408 
•McIntosh, R. C. (2016). A meta-analysis of HIV and heart rate variability in the era of antiretroviral therapy. Clinical Autonomic Research, 26(4), 287-294. DOI:10.1007/s10286-016-0366-6


The role of cardiac and respiratory interoceptive awareness in shaping affective experiences.

McIntosh, R. C., Lobo, J. D., Reed, M., & Britton, J. C. (2022). Anterior insula activation during cardiac interoception relates to depressive symptom severity in HIV-positive and HIV-negative postmenopausal women. Psychosomatic Medicine, 84(8), 863-873. DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000001136
McIntosh, R.C., Hoshi, R.C., Timpano K.R. (2020). Take my breath away: Neural activation at breathholddifferentiates individuals with panic disorder from healthy controls. Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology. 277. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resp.2020.103427

Do difficulties identifying, describing and feeling emotions impact health and health behaviors

McIntosh, R. C., Ironson, G., Antoni, M., Lai, B., Kumar, M., Fletcher, M. A., & Schneiderman, N. (2017). Psychological Distress Mediates the Effect of Alexithymia on 2-Year Change in HIV Viral Load.   International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 1-11. DOI: 10.1007/s12529-016-9602-7
McIntosh, R. C., Ironson, G., Antoni, M., Fletcher, M. A., & Schneiderman, N. (2016). Alexithymia,  Assertiveness and Psychosocial Functioning in HIV: Implications for Medication Adherence and Disease  Severity. AIDS and Behavior, 20(2), 325-338. DOI: 10.1007/s10461-015-1126-7  
McIntosh, R.C., Ironson, G., Antoni, M., Kumar, M., Fletcher, M., Schneiderman, N. (2013).  Alexithymia is Linked to Neurocognitive, Psychological, Neuroendocrine, and Immune Dysfunction in  Persons Living with HIV. Brain Behavior and Immunity 36, 165-175. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2013.10.024

Neurovsiceral integration and how inflammation subjugates the brain and alters behaviors.

McIntosh, R. C., Hoshi, R., Nomi, J. S., Di Bello, M., Goodman, Z. T., Kornfeld, S., ... & Ottaviani, C.  (2020). Neurovisceral integration in the executive control network: A resting state analysis. Biological  Psychology, 157, 107986. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2020.107986 
McIntosh, R. C., Paul, R., Ndhlovu, L. C., Hidalgo, M., Lobo, J. D., Walker, M., Shikuma, C.M., & Kallianpur, K.J. (2018). Resting-state connectivity and spontaneous activity of ventromedial prefrontal cortex predict depressive symptomology and peripheral inflammation in HIV. Journal of Neurovirology. 24(5), 616-628. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13365-018-0658-9
McIntosh, R. C., Lobo, J., Paparozzi, J., Goodman, Z., Kornfeld, S., & Nomi, J. (2022). Neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio is a transdiagnostic biomarker of depression and structural and functional brain alterations in older adults. Journal of Neuroimmunology, 365, 577831.


Are mood disorders the result of a fundamental breakdown in emotion regulation circuits in persons living with HIV?

• Kremer, H., Lutz, F. P., McIntosh, R. C., Dévieux, J. G., & Ironson, G. (2016). Interhemispheric Asymmetries and Theta Activity in the Rostral Anterior Cingulate Cortex as EEG Signature of HIV Related Depression Gender Matters. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience. 47(2), 96-104. DOI: 10.1177/1550059414563306.
McIntosh, R. C., Tartar, J. L., Widmayer, S., & Rosselli, M. (2015). Negative Attention Bias and Processing Deficits During the Cognitive Reappraisal of Unpleasant Emotions in HIV+ Women. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. 27(1), e32-e39. DOI:  10.1176/appi.neuropsych.13090222

How does altered neural circuitry lead to blunted affect, i.e., apathy and are persons living with HIV more succeptible?

McIntosh, R. C., Rosselli, M., Uddin, L. Q., & Antoni, M. (2015). Neuropathological Sequelae of  Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Apathy: A review of neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 55, 147-164. DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.04.008
• Tartar, J. L., McIntosh, R. C., Rosselli, M., Widmayer, S. M., & Nash, A. J. (2014). HIV-positive females show blunted neurophysiological responses in an emotion–attention dual task paradigm. Clinical Neurophysiology, 125(6), 1164-1173 DOI: 10.1016/j.clinph.2013.09.048

The experience of anger and downstream effects on health.

McIntosh R. C., Antoni, M., Carrico, A, Duran, R., Hurwitz, B., Ironson, G., Fletcher, M.A., Klimas, N.,  Kumar, M., Schneiderman, N. (2017). Change in urinary cortisol excretion mediates the effect of angry/hostile mood on 9-month diastolic blood pressure in HIV+ adults. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 1-11. DOI:10.1007/s10865-017-9827-1
McIntosh, R. C., Hurwitz, B. E., Antoni, M., Gonzalez, A., Seay, J., & Schneiderman, N. (2014). The  ABCs of Trait Anger, Psychological Distress, and Disease Severity in HIV. Annals of Behavioral  Medicine, 49(3), 420-433. DOI:10.1007/s12160-014-9667-y

 Translational Health

Potential therapeutic role of acetylcholineric anti-inflammatory pathway in buffering stress-relaed inflammation in HIV disease.

Box QR code • Howard, K., Sharma R., McIntosh. R. Impact of HIV, Acute & Chronic Stress Exposure on the Suppression of Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein-1 Ecpression in LPS-stimulated Monocytes. Poster presented at the 2023 Annual Meeting for the Psychoneuroimmunological Research Society

Culturally-tailored stress assessment and management in HIV disease.

McIntosh, R. et al., A 4-Session Written Emotional Disclosure Intervention Lowers 6-Month Sympathoadrenal Urinary Output in Persons Living with HIV. (In press)
• McIntosh, R., Antoni, M., Seay, J., Fletcher, M. A., Ironson, G., Klimas, N., Kumar, M. &  Schneiderman, N. (2019). Associations Among Trajectories of Sleep Disturbance, Depressive  Symptomology and 24-Hour Urinary Cortisol in HIV+ Women Following a Stress Management Intervention. 17(5), 605-620. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 1-16. DOI: 10.1080/15402002.2018.1435545

Plasticity of the gut-brain axis and its relevance to mood disrubance.

• Carrico, A. W., Cherenack, E. M., Rubin, L. H., McIntosh, R., Ghanooni, D., Chavez, J. V., ... & Paul, R. H. (2022). Through the looking-glass: psychoneuroimmunology and the microbiome-gut-brain axis in the modern antiretroviral therapy era. Psychosomatic medicine, 84(8), 984-994. DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000001133