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Effects of Lithium on Magnetic Resonance Imaging Signal Might Not Preclude Increases in Brain Volume After Chronic Lithium Treatment

Published:September 03, 2013DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.12.028
      We read with great interest the thoughtful recent article in which Cousins et al. (
      • Cousins D.A.
      • Aribisala B.
      • Ferrier I.N.
      • Blamire A.M.
      Lithium, gray matter, and magnetic resonance imaging signal.
      ) suggested that the structural brain changes associated with lithium (Li) treatment might not be physical increases in brain volume but rather an artifact caused by shortening of the gray matter (GM) T1 relaxation times by Li. We agree that interpretation of clinical neuroimaging studies investigating the effects of Li on brain structure is unclear, particularly as to the factors underlying potential GM changes. However, although Li treatment might alter contrast in T1 weighted magnetic resonance (MR) images, we here advance clinical and preclinical evidence why this might not preclude a tangible change in brain volume.
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