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Editorial
June 2017

Systems Research in Psychiatric Neuroscience

Author Affiliations
  • 1McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, Massachusetts
JAMA Psychiatry. 2017;74(6):553-554. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.0513

After decades of psychiatric neuroscience research, we have not made enough progress in offering causal explanations for disturbed experience and behavior, diagnosing true-types of psychiatric disorders, or choosing rational treatments.1 As a result, our field often reverts to utilitarian approaches that propose identifying measurable neurobiological abnormalities among people with psychiatric disorders as a potential basis for a diagnosis and treatment, regardless of causation. But these approaches fare poorly because differences between patients and psychiatrically healthy individuals are quite modest, similar brain abnormalities are seen across disorders, and there is great heterogeneity within patient populations.

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