Understanding the Risk for Neuropsychiatric Disorders Using Functional Brain Imaging
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MU has recently opened the Brain Imaging Center, a research dedicated Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) facility. Research at the center is focused on understanding the nature of basic cognitive and emotional processes as well as the role of disturbances in those processes to understand neuropsychiatric disorders. For example, research at the center has focused on understanding the nature of risk for schizophrenia and for alcohol addiction. In research with patients, we have found that people with schizophrenia exhibit dysfunction in multiple brain regions, including the prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex. Using functional MRI, we have found that people at-risk for schizophrenia only exhibit dysfunction in the prefrontal cortex, suggesting that prefrontal cortex impairment might be a critical risk factor for the development of schizophrenia.