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ME/CFS: In Free Fall Through the Looking Glass
Jody Smith continues to try to put into words the horror of the altered state that hobbles the brains of those with ME/CFS...
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Sunday Times: Feature Article expected soon

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Firestormm, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    Amersfoort, Netherlands
  2. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Sorry - I wasn't clear there. The 'Alzheimer's' before-and-after scans were performed on living patients before and after they took the drug manufactured by the study authors. Yes - different brain disorders do show distinctly-different patterns in scans. Here is a link to images of scans of a normal and Alzheimer's brain (normal Brain Image on the left side/Alzheimer's Brain image on the right side):

    http://www.petisllc.com/images/alz.jpg

    and here are images from a depressed and non-depressed person:

    http://www.riversideonline.com/source/images/image_popup/c7_pet_depression.jpg

    They've used slightly different colour schemes; the key thing is that the darker areas indicate reduced activity.

    So maybe those of who are definitely not depressed, but whose doctors refuse to believe it, should demand brain scans!
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  3. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    There are limitations to brain scans. Unless there is specific pathology such as lesions for MS,and sometimes even then it's difficult to you just look at a brain scan and say, yes this is definitely depression, as there are so many overlapping functions of different parts of the brain. I was absolutely fascinated by Dr. Amen's work when it first came out, but it didn't really pan out to be as accurate as hoped for. Again the same problem. It should be interesting to see what develops in the future.


    http://www.dana.org/news/cerebrum/detail.aspx?id=22220

    A lot has been learned about the brain in the last several years. It's an exciting area of research. I've often said that the "new frontier" isn't just outer space but also the brain.

    Barb
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  4. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Yes, there are definitely limitations. But Alzheimer's patients have reduced activity in specific brain regions (and the reductions commonly occur in a specific order as the illness progresses), whereas depressed people have a more general reduction.

    The article you link to is long and interesting from a quickish look. It refers mainly to MRI scans, which show slightly-different things from PET scans, which is why it can be useful to do both in some instances. fMRI and PET look not so much for lesions as variations in activity shown by blood flow, glucose uptake, etc.

    Re the schizophrenia studies, without reading the papers in question I don't know whether the patients were in the same stages of the illness, whether they were taking medication, etc., so can't comment. It's a controversial diagnosis anyway, with a lot of disagreement between scientists.

    It's true that imaging on its own will usually not be sufficient for a diagnosis to be made, but it can be very useful for assessing the efficacy of a treatment.

    I agree that it is a fascinating area. I focused a lot on imaging and dementia, and also studied addiction, in my Master's studies as I find it so interesting.

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