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A diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder (DID) is controversial and prone to under- and misdiagnosis. From the moment of seeking treatment for symptoms to the time of an accurate diagnosis of DID individuals received an average of four prior other diagnoses and spent 7 years, with reports of up to 12 years, in mental health services.
To investigate whether data-driven pattern recognition methodologies applied to structural brain images can provide biomarkers to aid DID diagnosis.
Structural brain images of 75 participants were included: 32 female individuals with DID and 43 matched healthy controls. Individuals with DID were recruited from psychiatry and psychotherapy out-patient clinics. Probabilistic pattern classifiers were trained to discriminate cohorts based on measures of brain morphology.
The pattern classifiers were able to accurately discriminate between individuals with DID and healthy controls with high sensitivity (72%) and specificity (74%) on the basis of brain structure. These findings provide evidence for a biological basis for distinguishing between DID-affected and healthy individuals.
We propose a pattern of neuroimaging biomarkers that could be used to inform the identification of individuals with DID from healthy controls at the individual level. This is important and clinically relevant because the DID diagnosis is controversial and individuals with DID are often misdiagnosed. Ultimately, the application of pattern recognition methodologies could prevent unnecessary suffering of individuals with DID because of an earlier accurate diagnosis, which will facilitate faster and targeted interventions.
Declaration of interest
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Hippocampal pathology has been proposed to underlie clinical, functional and cognitive impairments in schizophrenia. The hippocampus is a highly plastic brain region; examining change in volume, or change bilaterally, over time, can advance understanding of the substrate of recovery in psychosis.
Magnetic resonance imaging and outcome data were collected at baseline and 6-year follow-up in 42 first-episode psychosis subjects and 32 matched controls, to investigate whether poorer outcomes are associated with loss of global matter and hippocampal volumes. Bilateral hippocampal increase (BHI) over time, as a marker of hippocampal plasticity was hypothesized to be associated with better outcomes. Regression analyses were performed on: (i) clinical and functional outcomes with grey matter volume change and BHI as predictor variables; and (ii) cognitive outcome with BHI as predictor.
BHI was present in 29% of psychosis participants. There was no significant grey matter loss over time in either patient or control groups. Less severe illness course and lesser symptom severity were associated with BHI, but not with grey matter change. Employment and global function were associated with BHI and with less grey matter loss. Superior delayed verbal recall was also associated with BHI.
BHI occurs in a minority of patients following their first psychotic episode and is associated with good outcome across clinical, functional and cognitive domains.
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