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Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2009 Nov;259 Suppl 2:S143-7. doi: 10.1007/s00406-009-0064-7.

Brain imaging: on the way toward a therapeutic discipline.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstr. 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany.


Brain imaging has proven its importance as an essential tool of neuroscientific research, especially in psychiatry. Several of these methods at hand promise to enhance our understanding of function and dysfunction of neural processes and their disturbances in mental disorders in the near future. But the convincing success of imaging tools in research has not yet answered the demand to lead to new therapies or to new and useful tools in the diagnosis and treatment of single subjects. This article tries to point out how new methodological developments are promising to lead to a further step in this way. This therapeutic option is based on technical developments like high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or the further development of neurofeedback. This concept might make brain imaging such as realtime fMRI a therapeutic option at least in specialized institutions in the foreseeable future, especially since MR-scanners are already widely available nowadays.

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