New Brain Imaging Techniques Applied to Psychotic Disorders
New technology is allowing superresolution and segmentation of magnetic resonance images (MRI) to help scientists study the actual structure of psychosis.
Spanish researchers from the UPNA/NUP-Public University of Navarre aim to identify the differences in specific parts of the brain in psychotic patients compared to their healthy relatives or other people.
“We have seen that in individuals who have suffered a first psychotic episode, the area of the brain of the subcortical ganglia display certain differences in size with respect to that in healthy individuals,” said lead researcher Beatriz del Cerro.
This finding, to a certain extent, contradicts what has been reported in the psychiatric literature.
Cerro argues that antipsychotic pharmacological treatment might be a determining factor in these discrepancies since the new study looks at patients during the first weeks of treatment using medication, while earlier studies provided data on patients who had been on drug treatment for a long time.
Project leaders want to develop automatic methods to increase the quality of MRIs and calculate the desired sizes in the image analysis.
A parallel study focuses on the clinical aspects of the patients involved with these new methods of superresolution.
The sample in this study included people who have had a first psychotic episode, people related to them and a third unrelated group of similar sex, age and educational attainment. In the study, all underwent cerebral magnetic resonance imaging.
Once the magnetic resonance images reach the UPNA, the researchers have two main tasks ahead of them.
Firstly, they use mathematical superresolution techniques to reconstruct and enhance the quality of the images acquired by the medical equipment.Secondly, they segment each image by applying artificial intelligence techniques; in other words, they divide it into various parts (groups of pixels with common features) in order to simplify it or to swap its representation for another one that is easier to analyse.
“To do this, we used commercial software that already exists, but we have improved the algorithms and adapted them to our purposes,” explained researcher Aranzazu Jurio.
“We have been able to see that our new method, based on grouping functions, obtains the best results in all the images in the experiment,” the authors said.
Source: University of the Basque Country
Nauert PhD, R. (2013). New Brain Imaging Techniques Applied to Psychotic Disorders. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 4, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/05/29/new-brain-imaging-techniques-applied-to-psychotic-disorders/55368.html