Evaluation of brain imaging techniques in mental illness

Annu Rev Med. 1988;39:335-45. doi: 10.1146/annurev.me.39.020188.002003.


Brain imaging is increasingly applied in psychiatry, both for clinical evaluation and as a research tool. Computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have documented that structural brain abnormalities occur in some types of psychiatric patients, particularly those who suffer from schizophrenia. Dynamic imaging techniques such as single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET) have documented decreased temporoparietal activity in Alzheimer's disease, hypofrontality in schizophrenia, and a variety of abnormalities in affective and anxiety disorders. These techniques promise to teach us a great deal about the underlying neural mechanisms in mental illness.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Diagnostic Imaging*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed