New study shows brain scans could diagnose neurological and psychiatric disorders

Functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging could provide insight into variations in cognitive ability and personality traits.

Steven Petersen, Ph.D. the James S. McDonnell Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in Neurology and professor of neurosurgery, commented on the study saying:

"This is a step toward realizing the clinical promise of functional connectivity MRI. Before we can develop diagnostic tests based on fcMRI, we need to know what it is actually measuring. We show here that it's not measuring what you're thinking, but how your brain is organized. That opens the door to an entire new field of clinical testing."

First author of the study, Caterina Gratton, Ph.D said:

"Brain networks captured by fcMRI are really about the individual. Whether someone's watching a movie or thinking about her breakfast or moving her hands makes only a small difference. You can still identify that individual by her brain networks with a glance. We need more data before we can know what is normal variation in the population at large. But the individual differences were really easy to pick up, even in a population that is really very similar. It's exciting to think that these individual differences may be related to personality, cognitive ability, or psychiatric or neurological disease. Thanks to this work, we know we have a reliable tool to study these possibilities."