Research Topic

Neuropsychology Through the MRI Looking Glass

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In recent years, increasingly sophisticated analysis methods and acquisition protocols for both structural and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) data have successfully tackled various questions about the central nervous systems, ranging from physiological processes to diverse pathological states. On ...

In recent years, increasingly sophisticated analysis methods and acquisition protocols for both structural and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) data have successfully tackled various questions about the central nervous systems, ranging from physiological processes to diverse pathological states. On the other hand, neuropsychology can provide a large spectrum of essential information about various cognitive processes from the opposite observation point, namely the functional outcomes and the behavioral or cognitive performances. Overall, these protocols reveal a glimpse of the real complexity of our brains. Hence, the true window to the human psyche, capturing and reading individual thoughts relayed through the vast networks of our brains, is still elusive. Nonetheless, neuropsychological outcomes including hints of preclinical affections of different cognitive abilities such as attention, memory, visual processing, and executive functions, inherently must be mirrored in structural, microstructural or functional changes, possibly even with the detection threshold of current magnetic resonance protocols.

Ergo, the combination of these two distinct approaches offers innumerable opportunities. The contribution of neuropsychology may vary from the distinction of pathological, borderline and normal behavioral patterns to the large range of quantitative questionnaire or investigational psychological measures. All these parameters may be correlated or associated in another way with structural, microstructural or functional measures. The combination of functional and structural connectivity may be of great importance, with the ability to provide further information about engaged or affected networks of neural nodes. Further research projects may focus on the componential neural structures and functional informational processes in task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging, underlying individual differences in intellectual abilities. And let’s not forget the possible path towards early detection of subclinical consequences of various diseases, based on both neuropsychology and imaging measures, with the monitoring of progression over time and eventual therapeutic interventions. The options are countless.

In this Research Topic, several of the above-stated points will be addressed in original research articles utilizing both novel and well-established MRI measures. The studies will cover physiological, borderline and clearly pathological states. Moreover, a review article summarizing the current literature on this promising, quickly developing field will be included.

All in all, although neuropsychological assessment measures and complex imaging outcomes may be sometimes difficult to interpret, their combination may yet offer a new and important understanding of the basic principles our brains are built upon.


Keywords: Structural MRI, Functional MRI, neuropsychology, behavioral measures, connectivity.


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