Conceptual issues in psychiatric neuroimaging

Paolo Fusar-Poli, Matthew R Broome
Current Opinion in Psychiatry 2006, 19 (6): 608-12

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Psychiatric neuroimaging has made a dramatic impact on the understanding of the brain in mental illness in a relatively brief period of time and continues to be evolving in terms of methodology, analysis and utilization of the combination of techniques. Given the level of sophistication of the techniques and the importance of imaging in current academic psychiatry, it is timely to review its conceptual influence on psychopathology.

RECENT FINDINGS: The study will review scientific advances in psychiatric neuromaging, around the themes of functional connectivity, diffusion tensor imaging, magnetoencephalography, modality integration, meta-analyses and mega-analyses of data and discuss recent influential findings in contemporary research. We then focus on more conceptual issues relating to biological psychiatry and its relationship with cognitive neuroscience. We discuss the dominant paradigm of scientific psychopathology, namely cognitive neuropsychiatry and how it relates more broadly to imaging and cognitive science and elaborate on the philosophical positions of the paradigm and how it views abnormal mental states.

SUMMARY: We conclude that despite the advances in biological psychiatry and the power of the cognitive neuropsychiatry paradigm, its findings are logically contingent upon psychopathology and the normatively defined terms employed therein.

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