Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Penn researchers utilize MRI for early diagnosis of schizophrenia


New way of using MRI may show us what the naked eye cannot see

Researchers may have discovered a new way that may ultimately assist in the early diagnosis of schizophrenia - by utilizing MRI to study the patient’s brain. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) looked for subtle brain abnormalities that cannot be seen by the human eye. A study examined the entire brain, looking at distributed patterns of abnormalities rather than differences in specific regions of the brain.

"In this study, we used high-dimensional shape transformations in which we compared a brain image with a template of a normal brain. Through this comparison, we then determined where and how the patient’s brain differed from healthy controls," explained Christos Davatzikos, PhD, Director of the Section of Biomedical Image Analysis in the Department of Radiology at Penn. "These methods are able to identify abnormalities that could not be detected by human inspection of the images created via MRI And, up until now, structural MRI has typically been used to diagnose physical anomalies like stroke or tumors, but it has not been helpful for diagnosis of psychiatric diseases."

Davatzikos says, "MRI produces images which are traditionally read mostly by radiologists. Now, we can do a quantitative reading of these images - bringing out information that is not obvious to the eye; one can think of computer readings as computational scanners. It’s a second level that says ’analyze this image and produce another image that highlights subtle abnormalities in the brain.’ This is fundamentally new information now that we can use for a larger spectrum of diseases and look for early diagnosis and prevention - such as the teen at risk for developing schizophrenia."

The results of the study demonstrate that sophisticated computational analysis methods can find unique structural brain characteristics in schizophrenia patients, with a predictive accuracy of more than 83%. Recently, Davatzikos and his group announced that further analysis of this data with even more sophisticated classification methods achieved a 91% predictive accuracy for diagnosis of schizophrenia via MRI (MICCAI 2005 meeting, Palm Springs, CA).

"This is the first time this level of predictive power of MRI for classification of schizophrenia is demonstrated in a study of this magnitude," adds Davatzikos. "This tells us there are unique patterns we can use and explore when we want to diagnose patients with schizophrenia. However, the biggest value for this new diagnostic tool will be for early detection before clinical manifestation of the disease. For this, we will need to examine teenagers at risk."

Schizophrenia commonly presents in late adolescence or early adulthood thereby disrupting normal development and attainment of education and achieving independence. "If the disease can be detected early, intervention can ameliorate its potential effects. For example, brain systems implicated in schizophrenia include those required for learning and memory. Knowing that these systems have reduced volume in an individual could justify cognitive remediation efforts that will palliate the deficits and allow better adaptation," said Raquel Gur, MD, PhD, Director of the Schizophrenia Center with the Department of Psychiatry at UPHS, who performed the studies supported by NIMH.

Davatzikos further explains, "If you can diagnose schizophrenia early, utilizing MRI along with other tools like genetic disposition, behavioral profiles and functional imaging -- before a patient actually develops the disease -- we can try to delay the onset of the disease and hopefully have a better outcome for the rest of their life."

"Despite the high accuracy with the MRI classified patients and healthy controls, the diagnosis of schizophrenia is based on the clinical presentation," says Gur. "However, it is time for mental health professionals to think of neuroimaging as an important diagnostic tool that merits further research."

Susanne Hartman | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

A new kind of quantum bits in two dimensions

19.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists have a new way to gauge the growth of nanowires

19.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>