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Volume 5 Issue 3 (August 2002), Pages iii-iii, 265-396

Application of pharmacological fMRI to developmental psychiatric disorders (pages 310-317)

Abstract

Functional magnetic resonance imaging of neural activity induced by pharmacological stimulation (phMRI) is a promising technique for revealing pathophysiology and etiology of developmental psychiatric disorders. Recent investigations of the dopaminergic system have made possible the use of phMRI as a non‐invasive assay for neurotransmitter function. This paper explores applications of phMRI for identification of neurophysiological trait‐dependent and clinical state‐dependent mechanisms that can define biologically valid diagnostic criteria for developmental psychiatric disorders. Further, applications of phMRI for investigations of neurochemical changes induced by long‐term drug exposure, alternative therapies and normal brain maturation are discussed. The paper ends by highlighting methodological challenges posed by experimental control of pharmacological stimulation that is essential for valid interpretation of phMRI results.

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