Archive ScienceWatch



Marek Kubicki talks with and answers a few questions about this month's Fast Breaking Paper in the field of Psychiatry/Psychology.
Kubicki Article Title: A review of diffusion tensor imaging studies in schizophrenia
Authors: Kubicki, M;McCarley, R;Westin, CF;Park, HJ;Maier, S;Kikinis, R;Jolesz, FA;Shenton, ME (see also)
Volume: 41
Issue: 1-2
Page: 15-30
Year: JAN-FEB 2007
* Harvard Univ, Sch Med, Dept Psychiat, Clin Neurosci Div,Lab Neurosci,Boston VA Hlth Car, 940 Belmont St, Boston, MA 02301 USA.
* Harvard Univ, Sch Med, Dept Psychiat, Clin Neurosci Div,Lab Neurosci,Boston VA Hlth Car, Boston, MA 02301 USA.
(addresses have been truncated)

Why do you think your paper is highly cited?

Our paper is likely highly cited because it provides a comprehensive review of findings in the literature based on the application of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to schizophrenia. This is a very exciting area of research, as DTI is quite a new and powerful technology for evaluating white matter pathology. There is also recent evidence that suggests white matter abnormalities in schizophrenia. In this paper, we review DTI findings, to-date, as well as explain different aspects of this technique, including some of the problems. We also suggest possible solutions to these problems and future directions for research.

Would you summarize the significance of your paper in layman's terms?

Our paper provides a comprehensive review of DTI findings in schizophrenia. In this paper we explain the concepts behind DTI methodology, and we review the different ways in which DTI data have been collected, processed, and analyzed. We also comment on the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. This is then followed by a discussion of DTI findings in schizophrenia, and future directions for this research.

How did you become involved in this research, and were there any problems along the way?

I became acquainted with DTI methodology nine years ago thanks to my mentor, Professor Martha Shenton (see also), who is an expert in imaging and schizophrenia.

Since the first clinical application of DTI to schizophrenia, published in 1998 by M.S. Buchsbaum and colleagues, "MRI white matter diffusion anisotropy and PET metabolic rate in schizophrenia," NeuroReport 9: 425–30, Dr. Shenton and I have been working together to use DTI in order to better understand white matter pathology in this devastating disease. We have published multiple empirical papers since then, but as is the case with any new methodology, it has taken time for people to understand what this technique has to offer and what the advantages are of using one method of analysis over another.

Where do you see your research leading in the future?

As DTI gives us only anatomical information about brain connections, this technique needs to be incorporated into studies which combine DTI with functional imaging, so that both functional and anatomical connectivity can be investigated at the same time.

With imaging and processing advances, I see DTI methods becoming useful for pre-surgical planning. I also envision white matter atlases being generated using DTI, and, with increases in image resolution, the possibility of DTI being used to measure populations of neuronal cells. As our understanding of white matter pathology increases, it may even progress to the point where brain disorders associated with severe psychiatric disorders might be diagnosed through the use of DTI imaging.

Marek Kubicki, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory,
Department of Psychiatry
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Harvard Medical School

Keywords for this commentary: marek kubicki, diffusion tensor imaging (dti), schizophrenia, martha shenton, white matter pathology, dti imaging, psychiatry/psychology

2008 : April 2008 - Fast Breaking Papers : Marek Kubicki