Conclusion

Contemporary brain imaging methods provide a variety of strategies to probe structural, functional, and chemical abnormalities in specific neural circuits relevant to psychiatric disease. Such studies are having a considerable impact on our conceptualization of these disorders, with potential impacts on diagnosis (Mayberg 2003a), clinical management (monitoring occupancy, or PIB changes with treatment [Klunk et al. 2004]), and novel treatment development (Mayberg et al. 2005). Brain imaging in psychopharmacology can be categorized both by the scanning technology (e.g., MRI, PET, or EEG) and by its purpose (e.g., activation, resting state, behavioral, biochemical, or receptor mapping). Receptor-mapping studies have clearly added to our ability to understand mechanisms of action of psychopharmacological agents and their side-effect profiles. Activation studies, which indirectly measure neuronal activity vis-à-vis changes in cerebral blood flow, have become widely used with fMRI technology, providing new insights into behaviorally specific subcircuits. Structural MRI studies have also begun to yield considerable data enabling a better understanding of how the disease processes are regionally localized, where to target for functional imaging, and where to obtain specimens for postmortem histopathological analysis. Multimodal imaging through the combination of fMRI, PET, structural MRI, MRS, and electromagnetic measurements (EEG, MEG) offers the promise of identifying both neuronal and chemical changes related to brain function.

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