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Schizophr Res. 2015 Sep;167(1-3):91-7. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2014.10.019. Epub 2014 Nov 11.

Searching human brain for mechanisms of psychiatric disorders. Implications for studies on schizophrenia.

Author information

1
Translational Neuroscience Laboratory, McLean Hospital, 115 Mill St., Belmont, MA 02478, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, 25 Shattuck St., Boston, MA 02115, USA; Program in Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School, 25 Shattuck St., Boston, MA 02115, USA. Electronic address: s.berretta@mclean.harvard.edu.
2
Department of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University, 161 21st Ave. S., #T1217, Nashville, TN, USA.
3
Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, 25 Shattuck St., Boston, MA 02115, USA; Program in Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School, 25 Shattuck St., Boston, MA 02115, USA; Program in Structural and Molecular Neuroscience, 115 Mill St., Belmont, MA 02478, USA.

Abstract

In the past 25years, research on the human brain has been providing a clear path toward understanding the pathophysiology of psychiatric illnesses. The successes that have been accrued are matched by significant difficulties identifying and controlling a large number of potential confounding variables. By systematically and effectively accounting for unwanted variance in data from imaging and postmortem human brain studies, meaningful and reliable information regarding the pathophysiology of human brain disorders can be obtained. This perspective paper focuses on postmortem investigations to discuss some of the most challenging sources of variance, including diagnosis, comorbidity, substance abuse and pharmacological treatment, which confound investigations of the human brain.

KEYWORDS:

Comorbidity; Confounding factors; Human postmortem; In vivo imaging; Psychiatric disorders

PMID:
25458567
PMCID:
PMC4427537
DOI:
10.1016/j.schres.2014.10.019
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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