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Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(4):941-6. Epub 2006 May 15.

Brain profiling and clinical-neuroscience.

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Bruce and Ruth Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion, Haifa, Israel. <>


The current psychiatric diagnostic system, the diagnostic statistic manual, has recently come under increasing criticism. The major reason for the shortcomings of the current psychiatric diagnosis is the lack of a scientific brain-related etiological knowledge about mental disorders. The advancement toward such knowledge is further hampered by the lack of a theoretical framework or "language" that translates clinical findings of mental disorders to brain disturbances and insufficiencies. Here such a theoretical construct is proposed based on insights from neuroscience and neural-computation models. Correlates between clinical manifestations and presumed neuronal network disturbances are proposed in the form of a practical diagnostic system titled "Brain Profiling". Three dimensions make-up brain profiling, "neural complexity disorders", "neuronal resilience insufficiency", and "context-sensitive processing decline". The first dimension relates to disturbances occurring to fast neuronal activations in the millisecond range, it incorporates connectivity and hierarchical imbalances appertaining typically to psychotic and schizophrenic clinical manifestations. The second dimension relates to disturbances that alter slower changes namely long-term synaptic modulations, and incorporates disturbances to optimization and constraint satisfactions within relevant neuronal circuitry. Finally, the level of internal representations related to personality disorders is presented by a "context-sensitive process decline" as the third dimension. For practical use of brain profiling diagnosis a consensual list of psychiatric clinical manifestations provides a "diagnostic input vector", clinical findings are coded 1 for "detection" and 0 for "non-detection", 0.5 is coded for "questionable". The entries are clustered according to their presumed neuronal dynamic relationships and coefficients determine their relevance to the specific related brain disturbance. Relevant equations calculate and normalize the different values attributed to relevant brain disturbances culminating in a three-digit estimation representing the three diagnostic dimensions. brain profiling has the promise for a future brain-related diagnosis. It offers testable predictions about the etiology of mental disorders because being brain-related it lends readily to brain imaging investigations. Being presented also as a one-point representation in a three-dimensional space, multiple follow-up diagnoses trace a trajectory representing an easy-to-see clinical history of the patient. Additional, more immediate, advantages involve reduced stigma because it relaters the disorder to the brain not the person, in addition the three-digit diagnostic code is clinically informative unlike the DSM codes that have no clinical relevance. To conclude, brain profiling diagnosis of mental disorders could be a bold new step toward a "clinical-neuroscience" substituting "psychiatry".

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