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Book Reviews   |    
Advances in Brain Imaging
Reviewed by Norman R. Relkin, M.D., Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 2003; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.54.6.918-a
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edited by John M. Morihisa, M.D.; Washington, D.C., American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc., 2001, 186 pages, $34.95 softcover

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Advances in Brain Imaging, which is part of American Psychiatric Publishing's "Review of Psychiatry" series, provides a brief overview of several functional and structural imaging techniques that have been applied to the study of psychiatric disorders. Although a variety of methodologies are discussed in each of the book's five chapters, the greatest attention is paid to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron-emission tomography (PET). The primary disease entities discussed are schizophrenia and depression among adults and mood disorders among adolescents and children. According to the book's editor, John M. Morihisa, the unifying principle of the book is that modern brain imaging techniques can reveal pathophysiologic commonalities that underlie seemingly disparate psychiatric disorders.

The contributing authors all have extensive research experience and provide seasoned perspectives on the application of brain imaging to psychiatric studies. Joseph H. Callicott does a laudable job in discussing the strengths and weaknesses of fMRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in the study of mental illness. Cameron S. Carter nicely summarizes the role of prefrontal systems in executive dysfunction, with particular emphasis on schizophrenia. Daniel S. Pine provides a developmental perspective on mood and anxiety disorders through a discussion of fMRI and structural imaging studies of children. Harold A. Sackeim provides a very thoughtful examination of the relationship between white matter disease, cerebral blood flow abnormalities, and depression. Wayne C. Drevets extends this discussion into a more general survey of the functional anatomic correlates of major depression.

The most conspicuous contribution that this book makes is in providing specific examples of how brain imaging has deepened our understanding of mood and thought disorders. It also provides cogent discussions of the limitations of the studies carried out to date. Despite this book's focus on brain imaging, it contains relatively few actual images. Readers will need more than a basic knowledge of functional neuroanatomy and some familiarity with the respective brain imaging techniques to fully appreciate this work. This is not a book that most practicing psychiatrists will find easy to read or exceptionally relevant to their practice. It is perhaps best suited to psychiatric investigators or investigators in training who have a special interest in brain imaging or to clinicians who want to enrich their understanding of the above-mentioned disorders on the level of distributed brain networks.

Dr. Relkin is affiliated with Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.




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