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Depress Anxiety. 2017 Jul;34(7):578-587. doi: 10.1002/da.22627. Epub 2017 Apr 20.

Clinically useful brain imaging for neuropsychiatry: How can we get there?

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Center for the Developing Brain, Child Mind Institute, New York, New York.
Center for Biomedical Imaging and Neuromodulation, Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, New York, New York.


Despite decades of research, visions of transforming neuropsychiatry through the development of brain imaging-based "growth charts" or "lab tests" have remained out of reach. In recent years, there is renewed enthusiasm about the prospect of achieving clinically useful tools capable of aiding the diagnosis and management of neuropsychiatric disorders. The present work explores the basis for this enthusiasm. We assert that there is no single advance that currently has the potential to drive the field of clinical brain imaging forward. Instead, there has been a constellation of advances that, if combined, could lead to the identification of objective brain imaging-based markers of illness. In particular, we focus on advances that are helping to (1) elucidate the research agenda for biological psychiatry (e.g., neuroscience focus, precision medicine), (2) shift research models for clinical brain imaging (e.g., big data exploration, standardization), (3) break down research silos (e.g., open science, calls for reproducibility and transparency), and (4) improve imaging technologies and methods. Although an arduous road remains ahead, these advances are repositioning the brain imaging community for long-term success.


assessment/diagnosis; biological markers; brain imaging/neuroimaging; dissemination/implementation; functional MRI; neuroimaging

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