Schizophrenia and fMRI Imaging

Dr. Sukhi Shergill discusses difficulties in recruiting schizophrenic patients for fMRI neuroimaging studies.

The functional MRI machine for those people who have had an MRI scan is a very unpleasant environment. Even if you’re just going to get your knee scanned or your foot because it’s broken, or people are worried and people who play sports will have had MRI scans. Functional MRI uses a speeded up kind of sequence with these machines and it’s very difficult to get patients who are ill and hearing voices or are paranoid and frightened of the things around them, it’s very difficult to persuade them to take part in research where they have to come and lie down in an MRI machine. It’s a kind of dark tube and it’s also quite noisy when the machine’s actually running and we’re acquiring these brain images. You hear this very loud “ping, ping, ping” noise. So it’s quite an unpleasant and aversive experience for most patients. Sometimes to get them into the scanner, we’ll bring them in beforehand so that they can get used to the environment, can get used to the noise and we might even put them in a little while just to acclimatize before we actually run our experiments on them.

schizophrenia, imaging, neuroimaging, fMRI, mri, schizophrenic, scanner, sukhi, shergill

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