Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 January 2010
Functional neuroimaging methods have only recently begun to be applied to the study of child psychiatric disorders. As with many other areas of psychiatric research, scientific hypotheses tested in studies of children frequently have their roots, in part, in knowledge obtained in research on adults. The chapters in this section critically review the application of functional neuroimaging to the study of child psychiatric disorders, drawing on the background of adult neuroimaging research and our knowledge of childhood variations of adult-onset disorders. Theories of the neurobiology of child psychiatric disorders are discussed. Practical issues arising from imaging psychiatrically ill children, methods for addressing these issues, and related interpretative problems are explored. A wide variety of child psychiatric disorders are covered, ranging from those with early (solely childhood) onsets, such as autism, to those whose onset in childhood is rare, e.g., schizophrenia.
Chugani describes the full range of imaging studies of autism, a devastating and chronic disorder with an onset prior to age 3 years (Chapter 10). Jacobsen and Bertolino discuss their unique imaging studies of the rare form of schizophrenia with onset in childhood and the implications of their findings for developmental theories of schizophrenia (Chapter 11). Kowatch and his colleagues address childhood unipolar and bipolar depression, as well as neuroimaging paradigms developed to study the biology of mood and its disorders (Chapter 12).