Chinese researchers develop neuroimaging marker for schizophrenia

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-31 13:15:56|Editor: huaxia

BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhua) -- Chinese researchers have found a new neuroimaging biomarker that can help to diagnose schizophrenia and predict treatment response to antipsychotics.

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe mental disorder usually diagnosed and treated based on the patients' symptoms and depending on clinicians' experience. Although neuroimaging technology is widely used in hospitals to quantitatively measure brain structure and functional activities, there is a lack of quantitative biomarkers in psychiatric disorders.

Researchers from the Institute of Automation under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and other collaborators developed a new neuroimaging biomarker for schizophrenia identification, prognosis and subtyping based on abnormal striatal function.

In their search for suitable biomarkers, the scientists collected multimodal neuroimaging data from a total of 1,100 individuals with schizophrenia and healthy controls from 2010 to 2015.

Using the large dataset and machine learning technology, the researchers first proposed the concept of "functional striatal abnormalities," a neuroimaging biomarker that has clinical utility in precision medicine for psychiatry.

They found that the biomarker can accurately screen schizophrenic patients from healthy people and predict the future therapeutic effect of antipsychotic drugs on patients.

The research will help increase understanding of disease mechanisms as well as guide new drug development. It will help promote neuroimaging as an effective clinical tool in the field of psychiatry in the future.

The research was published in the journal Nature Medicine.