Neuroimaging correlates of insight in non-affective psychosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Rev Psiquiatr Salud Ment (Engl Ed). 2021 Jul 13;S1888-9891(21)00067-7. doi: 10.1016/j.rpsm.2021.07.001. Online ahead of print.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Objective: Neurological correlates of impaired insight in non-affective psychosis remain unclear. This study aimed to review and meta-analyze the studies assessing the grey matter volumetric correlates of impaired insight in non-affective psychosis.

Methods: This study consisted of a systematic review of 23 studies, and a meta-analysis with SDM-PSI of the 11 studies that were whole-brain and reported maps or peaks of correlation of studies investigating the grey matter volumetric correlates of insight assessments of non-affective psychosis, PubMed and OVID datasets were independently reviewed for articles reporting neuroimaging correlates of insight in non-affective psychosis. Quality assessment was realized following previous methodological approaches for the ABC quality assessment test of imaging studies, based on two main criteria: the statistical power and the multidimensional assessment of insight. Study peaks of correlation between grey matter volume and insight were used to recreate brain correlation maps.

Results: A total of 418 records were identified through database searching. Of these records, twenty-three magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies that used different insight scales were included. The quality of the evidence was high in 11 studies, moderate in nine, and low in three. Patients with reduced insight showed decreases in the frontal, temporal (specifically in superior temporal gyrus), precuneus, cingulate, insula, and occipital lobes cortical grey matter volume. The meta-analysis indicated a positive correlation between grey matter volume and insight in the right insula (i.e., the smaller the grey matter, the lower the insight).

Conclusion: Several brain areas might be involved in impaired insight in patients with non-affective psychoses. The methodologies employed, such as the applied insight scales, may have contributed to the considerable discrepancies in the findings.

Keywords: Conciencia de enfermedad; Grey matter; Imagen por resonancia magnética; Insight; Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); Materia gris; Neuroimagen; Neuroimaging; Non-affective psychosis; Psicosis no afectiva.

Publication types

  • Review