Monday, March 27, 2006

Diffusion Tensor Imaging in Schizophrenia

Diffusion Tensor Imaging
Kelvin Lim is using a new brain-imaging method to understand schizophrenia.

By Emily Singer

"Flipping through a pile of brain scans, a neurologist or psychiatrist would be hard pressed to pick out the one that belonged to a schizophrenic. Although schizophrenics suffer from profound mental problems -- hallucinated conversations and imagined conspiracies are the best known -- their brains look more or less normal. This contradiction fascinated Kelvin Lim, a neuroscientist and psychiatrist at the University of Minnesota Medical School, when he began using imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the schizophrenic brain in the early 1990s.Then, in 1996, a colleague told him about diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), a newly developed variation of MRI that allowed scientists to study the connections between different brain areas for the first time. His group has recently found that memory and cognitive problems associated with schizophrenia, major but undertreated aspects of the disease, are linked to flaws in nerve fibers near the hippocampus, a brain area crucial for learning and memory."
Reference

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