Feasibility of studying brain morphology in major depressive disorder with structural magnetic resonance imaging and clinical data from the electronic medical record: A pilot study

Depression Clinical and Research Program, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, United States
Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging (Impact Factor: 2.42). 11/2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2012.07.007
Source: PubMed


For certain research questions related to long-term outcomes or to rare disorders, designing prospective studies is impractical or prohibitively expensive. Such studies could instead utilize clinical and magnetic resonance imaging data (MRI) collected as part of routine clinical care, stored in the electronic medical record (EMR). Using major depressive disorder (MDD) as a disease model, we examined the feasibility of studying brain morphology and associations with remission using clinical and MRI data exclusively drawn from the EMR. Advanced automated tools were used to select MDD patients and controls from the EMR who had brain MRI data, but no diagnosed brain pathology. MDD patients were further assessed for remission status by review of clinical charts. Twenty MDD patients (eight full-remitters, six partial-remitters, and six non-remitters), and 15 healthy control subjects met all study criteria for advanced morphometric analyses. Compared to controls, MDD patients had significantly smaller right rostral-anterior cingulate volume, and level of non-remission was associated with smaller left hippocampus and left rostral-middle frontal gyrus volume. The use of EMR data for psychiatric research may provide a timely and cost-effective approach with the potential to generate large study samples reflective of the real population with the illness studied.

Download full-text


Available from: Martha E Shenton
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The ventral tegmental area (VTA) has been implicated in a number of psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder. One major regulator of the mesolimbic dopaminergic system is the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), which makes direct and indirect connections to the hippocampus and amygdala, as well as directly to the VTA. The mPFC is comprised of two subregions: the infralimbic and prelimbic cortices (ilPFC and plPFC). However, the specific roles of these subregions in regulating VTA dopamine activity have remained unclear. In this study, we aim to clarify this role and to examine the divergent neuranatomical circuits by which the mPFC regulates VTA activity. Using in vivo extracellular recordings in rats, we tested the effects of pharmacological activation (with NMDA) and inactivation (with TTX) of the ilPFC and plPFC on dopamine neuron activity, and tested the roles of the ventral subiculum (vSub) and basolateral amygdala in this process. We found that the ilPFC exerts a bidirectional control of VTA dopamine neurons, which are differentially modulated through the vSub and the basolateral amygdala. Specifically, activation or inactivation of the ilPFC attenuated or activated dopamine neuron population activity, respectively. Furthermore, dopamine activation depended on the ventral hippocampus and inactivation on the amygdala. In contrast, only inactivation of the plPFC altered dopamine neuron activity. These data indicate that the mPFC has the ability to uniquely fine-tune dopaminergic activity in the VTA. Furthermore, the data presented here suggest that the ilPFC may have a role in the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objectives Smaller hippocampal volumes are observed in depression but it remains unclear how antidepressant response and persistent depression relate to changes in hippocampal volume. We examined the longitudinal relationship between hippocampal atrophy and course of late-life depression. Setting Academic medical center. Participants Depressed and never-depressed cognitively intact subjects age 60 or older. Measurements Depression severity was measured every three months with the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). Participants also completed cranial 1.5T MRI every two years. We compared two-year change in hippocampal volume based on remission status, then in expanded analyses examined how hippocampal volumes predicted MADRS score. Results In analyses of 92 depressed and 70 never-depressed subjects, over two years the cohort whose depression never remitted exhibited greater hippocampal atrophy than the never-depressed cohort. In expanded analyses of a broader sample of 152 depressed elders, depression severity was significantly predicted by a hippocampus by time interaction where smaller hippocampus volumes over time were associated with greater depression severity. Conclusions Hippocampal atrophy is associated with greater and persistent depression severity. Neuropathological studies are needed to determine if this atrophy is related to the toxic effects of persistent depression or related to underlying Alzheimer’s disease.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2013 · The American journal of geriatric psychiatry: official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We propose an infrastructure for the automated anonymization, extraction and processing of image data stored in clinical data repositories to make routinely acquired imaging data available for research purposes. The automated system, which was tested in the context of analyzing routinely acquired MR brain imaging data, consists of four modules: subject selection using PACS query, anonymization of privacy sensitive information and removal of facial features, quality assurance on DICOM header and image information, and quantitative imaging biomarker extraction. In total, 1,616 examinations were selected based on the following MRI scanning protocols: dementia protocol (246), multiple sclerosis protocol (446) and open question protocol (924). We evaluated the effectiveness of the infrastructure in accessing and successfully extracting biomarkers from routinely acquired clinical imaging data. To examine the validity, we compared brain volumes between patient groups with positive and negative diagnosis, according to the patient reports. Overall, success rates of image data retrieval and automatic processing were 82.5 %, 82.3 % and 66.2 % for the three protocol groups respectively, indicating that a large percentage of routinely acquired clinical imaging data can be used for brain volumetry research, despite image heterogeneity. In line with the literature, brain volumes were found to be significantly smaller (p-value <0.001) in patients with a positive diagnosis of dementia (915 ml) compared to patients with a negative diagnosis (939 ml). This study demonstrates that quantitative image biomarkers such as intracranial and brain volume can be extracted from routinely acquired clinical imaging data. This enables secondary use of clinical images for research into quantitative biomarkers at a hitherto unprecedented scale.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Neuroinformatics
Show more