fMRI in Psychiatry Research

At the intersection of both the biological and social sciences, psychiatry requires its practitioners to maintain expertise across a more diverse range of disciplines than most medical professionals. In addition, psychiatrists are typically expected to be the most competent providers of pharmacological treatment for behavioral, affective and cognitive disorders.

Unsurprisingly, more fMRI studies have been published within the field of psychiatry than any other health care domain. Most tier-1 research journals (e.g., American Journal of Psychiatry, the Journal of Psychiatric Research, and Biological Psychiatry) include fMRI-based studies in virtually every issue. In fact, an entirely new section of Psychiatry Research was created just to accommodate the recent demand for fMRI studies in that journal.

fMRI research in psychiatry has led to improvements in 1) understanding the neural and cognitive mechanisms that underlie mental disorders, and 2) evaluating treatment effectiveness, particularly in pharmacology.
Examples of disorder categories that appear most frequently in published fMRI studies include:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Mood disorders (e.g., major depressive and bipolar disorders)
  • Anxiety disorders (e.g., PTSD and OCD)
  • Personality disorders (e.g., borderline disorder)
  • Eating disorders
  • Sleep disorders (particularly in assessing cognitive and affective sequelae)
  • Developmental disorders (e.g., ADHD)

fMRI in Psychiatry Practice

The benefits of fMRI in psychiatry research have been dramatic. Such studies have typically examined average patterns, trends, and generalizations that might distinguish a clinical group of interest (e.g., a group of patients diagnosed with PTSD) from a matched group of healthy control subjects.

However, in order to be useful to the practicing clinician, fMRI must provide valid and reliable information about individual patients.

Notus Neuropsychological Imaging provides psychiatrists with the means to use fMRI as a reliable and effective procedure that might enhance diagnosis, treatment plan development, and treatment monitoring for individual patients. Importantly, NNI has perfected a system for making the interpretation of fMRI results accessible to physicians, helping to make fMRI easy to understand and use.
Published Notus fMRI studies in the field of Psychiatry

Here are some informative case studies and publications in tier-1 journals demonstrating the use of Notus NeuroCogs™ in psychiatric-related applications:
Narcolepsy – This study shows significant and unexpected benefits of Modafinil in addressing cognitive deficits secondary to narcolepsy in terms of regulating efficient neural processing.

OCD – This study shows method for distinguishing subtypes of OCD based on activation levels of medial prefrontal cortex using f-VFT™.

Bulimia Nervosa – This study advances understanding and treatment of BN by revealing details about the cognitive mechanisms that are thought to underlie pathological mental processes associated with this eating disorder.