Neuroimaging and Schizophrenia

Professor Daniel Weinberger describes how neuroimaging techniques are being used to examine the brains of schizophrenic patients.

One of the main ways that the frontal lobe has been studied in schizophrenia has been with neuroimaging. Neuroimaging has produced some of the most consistent evidence that at the level of how the brain functions, there’s something not quite right about the frontal lobes. Neuroimaging is a technique for looking at the brain while it’s engaged in working. It gives us a physiological, or functional, assessment of how the brain’s actually doing things. There have been many, many functional imaging studies with techniques called PET or positron emission tomography, regional cerebral blood flow techniques, or more recently techniques like functional magnetic resonance imaging, all of which provide functional assessments of what the brain is doing. All of these kinds of studies – and there have literally hundreds of them in schizophrenia research over the last twenty or so years – have shown there is an abnormality of function of the frontal lobes, particularly during contextually important behaviors when the frontal lobe is being asked to do a frontal lobe sort of thing. This could be executive cognition or working memory, cognitive task or more complicated environmental processing tasks.

schizophrenia, neuroimaging, technique, brain, pet, fmri, rcbf, frontal, lobe, functional, magnetic, resonance, positron, emission, tomography, daniel, weinberger

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