PET Scans are increasingly being used to map, identify and help psychological issues.
It a recent article published in Radiology Today Magazine, research is being made as researchers from several specialties, including neurology, neuroradiology, and the emerging field of psychoradiology, are looking at imaging to help spot depression in the brain and bring a more individualized approach to the diagnosis and treatment of this disorder.
Possible results of research in brain imaging include classifying different subtypes of depression and determining which treatment methods work best in each patient. This contrasts with a historically more generalized approach.
Neuroimaging and Depression Subtypes
A key tool in the effort to identify depression subtypes is neuroimaging using modalities such as CT, MRI, functional MRI (fMRI), and PET. One neuroimaging method involves examining traditional clinical subtypes for their neuroimaging correlates. Another approach has been to examine core features of depression using task-based studies, which analyze patterns of reactivity in the brain as the patient focuses on a specific cognitive or emotional stimulus.
With substantial variability in individual patient outcomes from major depressive disorder treatments, researchers see an even greater need to find ways to identify biomarkers that guide treatment selection. With biomarkers, not only can neuroimaging play a role in identifying depression subtypes, it has the potential to enable precision psychiatry—helping identify an individual’s possibility of remission or treatment failure with first-line treatment options.