The following is a summary of “Cerebral cortical structural alteration patterns across four major psychiatric disorders in 5549 individuals,” published in the August 2023 issue of Psychiatry by Matsumoto et al.
Psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia (SZ), bipolar disorder (BD), major depressive disorder (MDD), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are categorized by symptoms. Although each disorder has distinct symptoms, symptom overlap exists between them.
Researchers conducted a retrospective study to investigate the similarities and differences in brain scans of people with different psychiatric disorders. They scanned 5,549 people from 14 sites.
The study computed the effect sizes with linear regression in each protocol and then meta-analyzed. Cosine similarity was calculated using their effect sizes in cortical regions to measure similarity in cortical thickness and surface area differences among disorder groups.
The findings suggested the thinnest cortex was in SZ among the disorders, followed by BD and MDD. Cosine similarity values were 0.943 for SZ and BD, 0.959 for SZ and MDD, and 0.943 for BD and MDD, revealing shared cortical thickness patterns. SZ and MDD showed smaller cortical surface areas than BD, with SZ having the largest effect. Cosine similarity values were 0.945 for SZ and MDD, 0.867 for SZ and ASD, and 0.811 for MDD and ASD, indicating common cortical surface area alterations among SZ, MDD, and ASD. Overall, distinct patterns of cortical alterations emerged in these major psychiatric disorders.
This study marked the inaugural cross-disorder analysis of four major psychiatric conditions. Such cross-disorder brain imaging studies hold the potential to enhance the research insights into the origins of these disorders and shared symptoms.