The idea that serious mental illnesses, such as autism and schizophrenia, result from abnormal connectivity among large-scale brain networks is gaining widespread acceptance. Efforts to test hypotheses of dysconnectivity have historically been hindered by tools with insufficient spatial resolution to investigate human brain connectivity in vivo and an incomplete understanding of the large-scale organization of the brain, the so-called connectome. The development of resting-state functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fcMRI) has profoundly affected our understanding of the functional organization of the brain, both in health and illness. The investigation by Cerliani and colleagues1 in this issue describes abnormal cortical-subcortical connectivity in the brains of individuals with autism. In this Editorial, we briefly review rs-fcMRI methods; summarize several key rs-fcMRI findings in 2 exemplary dysconnectivity-associated psychiatric illnesses, schizophrenia and autism; and discuss the potential uses for rs-fcMRI in the search for biomarkers of psychiatric disorders.
Woodward ND, Cascio CJ. Resting-State Functional Connectivity in Psychiatric Disorders. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(8):743-744. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.0484