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Brain Imaging Studies

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Structural Imaging

We use two approaches for the analysis of the structural neuroanatomy of schizophrenia: 1) structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI); and 2) diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).  sMRI allows the investigator to evaluate the morphometry of specific cortical and subcortical structures and to use these measurements to examine the neuroanatomy of symptoms, cognitive impairments, and predict long-term outcome. 

DTI is a relatively new technique, which is based in the diffusion of water through different types of brain tissue.  DTI enables the investigator to examine the integrity of the fiber tracts that connect different brain regions. Studies using these techniques are being conducted under the direction of Robert W. Buchanan, M.D. and coordinated by Elena Spieker.

Functional Imaging

Functional brain imaging (fMRI) is use to evaluate changes in brain behavior during the performance of different cognitive tasks or in response to monetary or primary sensory rewards.  These studies help to determine which brain areas may be involved in the cognitive impairments and symptoms manifestations of schizophrenia.  Studies using this technique are being conducted under the direction of Drs. James Gold, Ph.D.; Rebecca Fuller, Ph.D.; and James Waltz, Ph.D. and coordinated by James Waltz, Ph.D.

Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS)

Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is used to assess brain chemistry.  MRS may be used to evaluate tissue activity and integrity by examining the concentration of different compounds.  The advent of larger magnets and scanners allows us to evaluate the function of the glutamatergic neurotransmitter system.  Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter and has been hypothesized to be disrupted in schizophrenia.  Studies using this technique are being conducted under the direction of Robert W. Buchanan, M.D., Laura Rowland Ph.D.; and Bernie Fischer, M.D. and coordinated by Elena Spieker