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New Brain Imaging Techniques Applied to Psychotic Disorders

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

New Brain Imaging Techniques Applied to Psychotic Disorders

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). New Brain Imaging Techniques Applied to Psychotic Disorders. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 29 May 2013)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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