The autonomic nervous system is of paramount importance for daily life. Its regulatory action on respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive endocrine and other systems adapts vital functions to changing environmental demands without voluntary control. The major branches of the autonomic nervous system, the parasympathetic and the sympathetic system, modulate the activity of peripheral organs and tissue. While the sympathetic branch is needed for an adequate stress response, the parasympathetic or vagal activity reduces expenditure and promotes health. Most psychiatric disorders are associated to an imbalance between the two autonomic branches. Our central research goal is to shed light into the link between psychiatric symptoms and somatic impairments.