David A. Silbersweig, MD, Chair, Department of Psychiatry describeshow functional brain imaging is allowing researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital to identify the abnormal circuits in the brain that occur when people experience depression, anxiety, psychosis and other psychiatric disorders. The goal of functional neuroimaging is to assist in the development of targeted treatments for psychiatric illness.
Though researchers are looking at the whole brain with functional neuroimaging, they are paying particular attention to areas in the frontal lobe that are involved in the control of thoughts and emotions, areas in the limbic system that are involved in emotional reactivity and processing, and areas in the motivational systems of the brain, deep in the ventral striatum and basal forebrain. They’re also looking at how the brain coordinates its activity among these regions and how that communication or coordination may break down in disease states.
Additionally, by combining functional neuroimaging with genetics and epigenetic studies, researchers hope to learn how the genetic changes may influence brain activity.
Learn more about the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory and other psychiatry research studies at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Read the Functional Neuroimaging - Mapping Psychiatric Illness video transcript.
Brigham and Women’s, Innovation