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J Magn Reson Imaging. 2006 Jun;23(6):851-61.

Applications of functional magnetic resonance imaging in psychiatry.

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Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK.


While the use of MRI techniques has become a cornerstone of the neurology clinic, the application of such methods in psychiatry was rather limited until the advent of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Over the past decade fMRI has superseded radionuclide-imaging techniques and blossomed into a widely used psychiatric research tool. This review focuses on the neurobiological findings from fMRI research in three less well-documented psychiatric disorders: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Although there was some disparity in early findings, greater standardization of image acquisition, analysis, and paradigms, and improved clinical classification are leading to a greater convergence of observations from different laboratories. fMRI is also beginning to realize its potential as an important mediator between genes and phenotypes, and may thus contribute to a better understanding of the pathophysiology of major neuropsychiatric diseases. The role of fMRI in the objective assessment of therapeutic intervention and early prediction of response to treatment is also discussed.

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