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The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Statistical Parametric Maps

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 November 2014


Over 20 years ago, Monte Buchsbaum first presented metabolic brain images belonging to a patient with schizophrenia at the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting. This was a truly remarkable achievement brought about by the combined skills of the deoxyglucose technique developed by Lou Sokoloff and colleagues, and the advancement of statistical algorithms for the analysis of computerized images. Positron emission tomography (PET) had arrived, but more importantly, the imaging era of neuropsychiatry was dawning. Since then, we have been treated to a glorious array of technical developments which has seen not only coregistration of functional images (ie, PET) with corresponding structure (magnetic resonance imaging [MRI]), but a proliferation of MRI techniques that allow not only temporal and spatial resolutions undreamed of two decades ago, but permit safe, repeated testing of patients, allowing for experiments of considerable sophistication to be designed.

Now, at any neuroscience meeting, many presentations are accompanied by brain images, often PETs. However, more and more often now we are seeing one form or another of MRI. Such images are displayed from various angles, adorned with multiple colors, and garnished with institutional logos, confirming (and less regularly refuting) the presenter's hypothesis about how the brain is supposed to work in relation to various cerebral functions.

The Neurology of Behavior
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2001

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