Neural networks in psychiatry | Neuroscience in The News |

[Abstract] Over the past three decades numerous imaging studies have revealed structural and functional brain abnormalities in patients with neuropsychiatric diseases. These structural and functional brain changes are frequently found in multiple, discrete brain areas and may include frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital cortices as well as subcortical brain areas. However, while the structural and functional brain changes in patients are found in anatomically separated areas, these are connected through (long distance) fibers, together forming networks. Thus, instead of representing separate (patho)-physiological entities, these local changes in the brains of patients with psychiatric disorders may in fact represent different parts of the same ‘elephant’, i.e., the (altered) brain network. Recent developments in quantitative analysis of complex networks, based largely on graph theory, have revealed that the brain's structure and functions have features of complex networks. Here we briefly introduce several recent developments in neural network studies relevant for psychiatry, including from the 2013 special issue on Neural Networks in Psychiatry in European Neuropsychopharmacology. We conclude that new insights will be revealed from the neural network approaches to brain imaging in psychiatry that hold the potential to find causes for psychiatric disorders and (preventive) treatments in the future. - by Pol HH et al., European Neuropsychopharmacology, in Press, Available online 8 February 2013

Via Julien Hering, PhD