Structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging in psychiatric disorders

Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center, Institute of Living, Hartford, Connecticut 06106, USA.
Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie (Impact Factor: 2.55). 04/2007; 52(3):158-66.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To report on recent advances in both structural and functional brain imaging studies in psychiatry and to highlight their importance for the field.
We reviewed recently published articles dealing with such advances and abstracted them into a selective review of the field.
Some of the more important trends include integration of genetic information into research studies, use of novel quantitative image measurement techniques, studies of new subject populations, the use of pharmacologic probes in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies, the incorporation of elements of virtual reality into fMRI task stimuli, and the methodological innovation of hyperscanning.
A whole series of new approaches and techniques are resulting in rapid advances in neuroimaging in psychiatry. Several of these show the potential for clinical translation.

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    • "Since then, a large body of observations has accumulated relating differences in brain structure and function to typical and atypical aspects of behavior, and work in this area is accelerating as techniques improve. In the following discussion we will be focusing on brain structural imaging, but it should be noted that there is increasing interest in the exploration of similar consideration for other brain measures such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI; Menzies et al., 2007; Pearlson & Calhoun, 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Human brain development is created through continuing complex interactions of genetic and environmental influences. The challenge of linking specific genetic or environmental risk factors to typical or atypical behaviors has led to interest in using brain structural features as an intermediate phenotype. Twin studies in adults have found that many aspects of brain anatomy are highly heritable, demonstrating that genetic factors provide a significant contribution to variation in brain structures. Less is known about the relative impact of genes and environment while the brain is actively developing. We summarize results from the ongoing National Institute of Mental Health child and adolescent twin study that suggest that heritability of different brain areas changes over the course of development in a regionally specific fashion. Areas associated with more complex reasoning abilities become increasingly heritable with maturation. The potential mechanisms by which gene-environment interactions may affect heritability values during development is discussed.
    Development and Psychopathology 02/2008; 20(4):1161-75. DOI:10.1017/S0954579408000552 · 4.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Endophenotypes, which represent intermediate phenotypes on the causal pathway from the genotype to the phenotype, can help unravel the molecular etiopathology of complex psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Several candidate endophenotypic markers have been proposed in schizophrenia, including neurocognitive and neurophysiological impairments. Over the past three decades, there has been an impressive body of literature in support of brain structural alterations in schizophrenia, but few studies have critically examined whether these abnormalities can be considered useful endophenotypic markers. We critically reviewed the extant literature on the neuroanatomy of schizophrenia in this paper to evaluate their candidacy as endophenotypes. Structural brain changes are robustly associated with schizophrenia, are state independent and may cut across the diagnostic boundaries of major psychotic illnesses. Brain morphometric measures are heritable, co-segregate with the broadly defined neurocognitive and behavioural phenotypes within the first degree relatives of schizophrenia patients and are present in unaffected family members more frequently than in the general population. Taken together, brain morphometric alterations appear largely to meet the criteria for endophenotypes in psychotic disorders. Further work is needed to examine how specific genes and their interactions with the environment may produce alterations in brain structure and function that accompany psychotic disorders.
    International Review of Psychiatry 09/2007; 19(4):397-406. DOI:10.1080/09540260701486233 · 1.80 Impact Factor
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