Multimodal imaging in psychiatry: the electroencephalogram as a complement to other modalities

Salisbury DF, O’donnell BF, Nestor PG, Shenton ME, McCarley RW

CNS Spectr 1999;4(8):44-57

PMID: 17921930


The use of different imaging modalities provides the clinician and researcher with different views of anatomy and physiology at unprecedented levels of detail. Multimodal imaging allows for noninvasive measurement of structure and function in humans during complex behavior, and thus provides information about the inner workings of the brain previously unavailable. The present paper examines the various imaging techniques available, and describes their application to the clinic-in the case of epilepsy-and to research-in the case of schizophrenia. Because the electroencephalogram has a dynamic response in milliseconds, it provides the best temporal sensitivity of functional measures of brain activity. When coupled with high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging measures of brain structure, this multimodal approach provides a powerful tool for understanding brain activity. Clinically, the use of multimodal imaging has provided greater precision in localization of the epileptogenic focus. For researchers attempting to determine the underlying causes of schizophrenia, the use of multimodal imaging has helped lead the field away from a specific lesion view to a more distributed system abnormality view of this disorder.