Brain Mapping and Genetic Markers Used as Diagnostic Tools for Mental and Neurological Disorders.
ALBQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Mind Research Network (MRN) today announced a new approach for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and neurological disorders. The integration of multi-modal neuroimaging, genetic mapping, and psychopharmacology may revolutionize how mental disorders are diagnosed. Currently, the standard diagnostic tool for all mental disorders is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual provides guidelines that are subject to interpretation which can vary from doctor to doctor. This new integrated approach would augment the DSM to provide a more reliable and consistent diagnosis.
The recent appointment of three outstanding scientists bringing with them over $12,000,000 in NIH support, establishes the Mind Research Network as a leader in this effort.
Dr. Vince Calhoun and Dr. Kent Kiehl are combining their basic and clinical neuroscience research into a translational model for understanding how the human brain functions. Dr. Calhoun and his team have created algorithms that allow for the analysis of complex brain images across a variety of neuroimaging platforms (MRI, fMRI, EEG, MEG, and DTI). Dr. Kiehl and his team have taken a mobile MRI into correctional facilities in New Mexico providing scanning and treatment to volunteers within incarcerated populations, and gathering large amounts of raw data for Dr. Calhoun to translate into meaningful, statistically relevant, information that can be used to help provide a reliable diagnosis of criminal psychopathy. And, given that 74% of inmates incarcerated in state prisons across the country have mental problems, coupled with alcohol or drug dependence abuse1, Dr. Kent Hutchinson's work examining the genetic factors that underlie addiction may help explain why certain populations are more susceptible to addiction and could provide more targeted treatment strategies.
"Today, many of the brain-based diseases or disorders associated with mental and behavioral health (e.g., schizophrenia, addiction, criminal psychosis, autism, traumatic brain injury, post traumatic stress disorder), cannot be cured. However, early diagnosis is the first best-step for intervention and prevention. Our research is leading the way to better methods of refined and/or earlier diagnosis. Cures are the ultimate goal, but effective treatments are needed now and by understanding how the brain functions - its mechanics, we can help patients and their families lead more productive lives," said Vince Clark, Science Director, MRN. "The emphasis on neurodiagnostic discovery reflects the strengths and capabilities of the scientists and the tools and technologies located at here at MRN. Bringing together collaborative teams to work on projects and programs that are national in scope is a unique attribute that the Mind Research Network has successfully employed for the past nine years. We have the right combination of in-house tools and nation-wide collaborations to make significant impact," added Dr. John Rasure, President and CEO of MRN.
The Mind Research Network (MRN) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit scientific research organization dedicated to helping people now by improving the diagnosis of mental illness and neurological disorders, and helping people in the future through prevention, intervention and treatment, and ultimately cures. Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, MRN scientists along with collaborators at Network sites across the Nation: University of New Mexico, University of Minnesota, and Massachusetts General Hospital (Harvard/MIT), continue their quest to fully map the brain, advance imaging technologies, and discover the causes behind brain-based diseases and disorders. Information: www.themindinstitute.org
1 Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics Report, September 2006, NCJ 213600