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Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Psychological Susceptibility and Resilience

  • Orion Paul Keifer Jr.
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Orion Paul Keifer, Jr., Ph.D., Emory University School of Medicine, c/o Emory MD/PhD Department, 1648 Pierce Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30307.
    Affiliations
    MD/PhD Program, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia
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      Given the complexity of most psychiatric disorders, they are notoriously difficult to study. Central to the challenge is that the pathophysiology is likely a distributed dysfunction across multiple different neural circuits (
      • Akil H.
      • Brenner S.
      • Kandel E.
      • Kendler K.S.
      • King M.C.
      • Scolnick E.
      • et al.
      Medicine. The future of psychiatric research: genomes and neural circuits.
      ). Thus, investigations into psychiatric diseases and their respective models must be able to scale from the level of molecules to whole-brain circuit analysis. Whereas there are numerous robust tools for studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms of psychiatric disorders, few research methodologies allow for systems-level analysis of the brain. Therefore, it is not surprising that the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has gained such widespread use and acceptance, especially in the context of human research. Interestingly, over the past 2 decades, MRI methodologies have been increasingly employed in studying animal models. While there are numerous benefits to using MRI as a tool for studying animal models, there are two major advantages. First, by conducting analogous MRI analysis between humans and animal models, there is an unparalleled chance to conduct directly translational research (
      • Keifer Jr, O.P.
      • Gutman D.A.
      • Hecht E.E.
      • Keilholz S.D.
      • Ressler K.J.
      A comparative analysis of mouse and human medial geniculate nucleus connectivity: a DTI and anterograde tracing study.
      ). Second, through the use of animal models it is possible to determine the molecular and cellular mechanisms and dynamics that manifest macroscopically as changes in MRI signal.
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