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Neurocase. 2008;14(1):54-8. doi: 10.1080/13554790701881731.

Developing a neuropsychiatric functional brain imaging test.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX 75390-9119, USA.


A number of critical issues must be addressed in order to develop and properly apply a functional brain imaging test. Diagnostic tests involve making a judgment for a single person. As a result, functional brain imaging tests must also be evaluated at the individual level. The population examined in determining the evidence for the accuracy of the test and the specific question being tested should be clearly described so that the test can be applied appropriately. The accuracy of the test must also be established in order to know the degree of confidence to accord a result. Incorporating what has been learned with medical diagnostic test development will enable legitimate and significant neuropsychiatric functional brain imaging tests to be developed in the future.

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