Research Topic

Magnetic resonance imaging of disturbed brain connectivity in psychiatric illness

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The widespread application of brain imaging to the study of psychiatric disorders has led to a revolution in our understanding of the neural basis of psychiatric illness. In particular, the advent of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has provided an unprecedented capacity for quantifying diverse aspects of ...

The widespread application of brain imaging to the study of psychiatric disorders has led to a revolution in our understanding of the neural basis of psychiatric illness. In particular, the advent of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has provided an unprecedented capacity for quantifying diverse aspects of brain structure and function in vivo, and has been used to identify brain changes associated with the full spectrum of psychopathology. With respect to major psychiatric disorders, it is now abundantly clear from this literature that focal brain dysfunction is rare. Rather, most disorders are associated with abnormalities in large-scale networks of spatially distributed and interconnected brain regions; i.e., they are disorders of brain connectivity. Such considerations highlight the need to understand brain dysfunction in psychiatric illness from a network-based perspective. This goal is starting to be realized through recent advances in the use of MRI to map the brain’s complex connectivity architecture. In this special edition, we call for contributions that address brain network dysfunction in psychiatric illnesses. Specifically, the work must be concerned with understanding interactions between brain regions, and how their alterations are affected by psychiatric disease. These interactions can be studied at the level of anatomy using diffusion-MRI or function using functional MRI (fMRI), with the full range of methods available (e.g., tractography, seed-based correlations, independent component analysis, graph analysis, dynamic causal modeling, etc.). Contributions can be either reviews of recent, relevant literature addressing brain network dysfunction in psychiatric disease, or experimental papers describing novel insights into brain network disturbances in such illnesses. Contributions will be welcomed covering a broad spectrum of psychiatric disease, including mood and anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and neurodegenerative conditions. It is intended that this volume will provide important insights into how brain networks are perturbed by psychiatric disease, and allow identification of commonalities and differences across diagnostic categories.


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