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Neuroscience and Psychiatry
September 2018

Magnetoencephalography and Translational Neuroscience in Psychiatry

Author Affiliations
  • 1Institute for Neuroscience and Psychology, Glasgow University, Scotland, Glasgow
  • 2Institute of Biomagnetism and Biosignalanalysis, University of Muenster, Germany
JAMA Psychiatry. 2018;75(9):969-971. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.0775

The search for biomarkers and pathophysiological mechanisms in psychiatry is a major objective in current research. One important prerequisite for the success of this approach is noninvasive imaging techniques that yield insights into alterations of large-scale networks and establish relationships with preclinical work. Anatomical and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI/fMRI) have been extensively used for this purpose because of their ability to measure the layout of anatomical and functional networks with excellent spatial resolution. However, a limitation of this approach is that these techniques allow only indirect links to the physiology of underlying signal changes. Moreover, the temporal resolution of fMRI is in the range of seconds. In contrast, large-scale brain networks operate in the millisecond scale with frequencies of up to 200 Hz that are fundamental for cognitive processes, and these fast rhythmic fluctuations have been found to be impaired in schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.1 Accordingly, these data highlight the importance of techniques that allow the measurement of brain signals with realistic temporal resolution and permit the accurate reconstruction of underlying networks.

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