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Semin Clin Neuropsychiatry. 2000 Apr;5(2):98-112.

Neuroimaging in delirium and related conditions.

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Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison Service, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Delirium is one of the most fascinating and poorly understood syndromes in medicine. To a large extent, attempts to study the pathophysiology of delirium have been hampered by the many different types of delirium and their variable symptom expression. The emergence of sophisticated brain imaging methodologies has made it possible to move beyond diagnostic considerations and investigate the neurobiology of specific symptom clusters observed in delirium and related conditions. In this review, neuroimaging findings of relevance to delirium are interpreted in relation to phenomenologically similar symptom states as well as clinical diagnoses. A promising approach in this regard is to combine neuroimaging techniques with symptom-provoking pharmacologic challenge paradigms. Such symptom-oriented neuroimaging studies hold particular promise for improving our understanding of the pathophysiology of delirium and its treatment.

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