Volumetric Methods

Magnetic resonance-based volumetric methods involve estimating volumes of cerebral structures using MR images. They may be divided into two different types—automated (voxel-based morphometry [VBM]) and manual (region of interest [ROI]) methods. A detailed review of these methods is provided elsewhere (Pearlson and Calhoun 2007). Using volumetric studies of hippocampus in depression, Sheline et al. (2002) described a subtype of depression associated with hippocampal volume loss, memory impairment, and hippocampal loss of 5-HT2A receptors. The alteration of cerebral structure by medications has been reported as well. G. J. Moore et al. (2000) reported that lithium administration led to a 3% increase in the volume of gray matter within a period of about 4 weeks. Psychiatric disorders are clinically heterogeneous entities and such structural MRI-based studies have helped us to characterize more specific pathological subtypes of depression. T2-weighted MRI studies have also been used to identify and rate subcortical hyperintensities, the increase of which is believed to result in late-life cerebrovascular disease and late-life depression (Alexopoulos et al. 1997; Kumar et al. 2002; Parsey and Krishnan 1997).

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