Neuropsychiatry

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Figure Caption: This figure illustrates, in red, the areas of the brain within which individuals with schizophrenia demonstrated a significant loss of grey matter over a period of 36 months spanning the time of first presentation of symptoms, treatment and progression of the disease.
Future Directions

Although our group will continue to pursue longitudinal MRS measurements in schizophrenia using a newly acquired 7.0 Tesla MR scanner, we are now making significant effort to develop MRI methodologies to examine abnormalities of brain connectivity in several neuropsychiatric conditions. The technique will probe functional connectivity, physical connectivity and myelination status.

Less than 50 years ago, most psychiatric disorders were believed to be the result of poor child rearing. Today,it is generally believed to be brain disorders rather than personality disorders. Neuropsychiatry imaging research has exploded within the last 30 years with the advent of non-invasive medical imaging technology. Early within this era, visionary physicists and psychiatrists came together to form the first teams employing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS) to study individuals with schizophrenia. Since then, interest in this type of research has grown and the group has expanded its research to post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, Tourette’s syndrome, as well as unipolar and bipolar major depressive disorders.

Researchers
J. Théberge
magnetic resonance physicist
P.C. Williamson
research psychiatrist; schizophrenia
E.A. Osuch
research psychiatrist; mood disorders
R.A. Lanius
research psychiatrist; post traumatic stress disorder


Technologies
1.5T Aera2 MRI
3T PET/MR

Collaborators
R. Nicolson
research psychiatrist; autism & Tourette’s
Key Accomplishments

Our group's expertise has mainly resided in the development and application of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) techniques in the early course of disease progression in schizophrenia. The use of high a field MRI scanner, small regions of interest, unmedicated patients first presenting with symptoms and long term follow up has made our studies completely unique in the international scene. Our group was the first to report abnormalities in glutamatergic metabolism in patients with schizophrenia. Many years later, the pharmaceutical industry has now capitalized on those findings and produced the first solely glutamatergic medication for schizophrenia. These advances in treatment cannot happen without validation of animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders within humans. MRI and MRS allow us to test glutamatergic models of schizophrenia non-invasively in real individuals with real symptoms.

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