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Voxel-based Morphometry (VBM) Studies in Schizophrenia-Can White Matter Changes be Reliably Detected with VBM?

1Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
2Department of Psychiatry, VA Boston Healthcare System, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Elsevier Science
Publication Date:
Psychiatry Res
Volume Number:
Issue Number:
Psychiatry Res. 2011 Aug 30;193(2):65-70.
PubMed ID:
Diffusion Tensor Imaging, Meta-analysis, Chronic Schizophrenia, First Episode Schizophrenia, Fractional Anisotropy (FA)
Appears in Collections:
K05 MH070047/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
P50 MH080272/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
R01 MH074794/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
R01 MH082918/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
R01 MH050740/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
U54 EB005149/EB/NIBIB NIH HHS/United States
Generated Citation:
Melonakos E.D., Shenton M.E., Rathi Y., Terry D.P., Bouix S., Kubicki M. Voxel-based Morphometry (VBM) Studies in Schizophrenia-Can White Matter Changes be Reliably Detected with VBM?. Psychiatry Res. 2011 Aug 30;193(2):65-70. PMID: 21684124. PMCID: PMC3382976.
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Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) is a hypothesis-free, whole-brain, voxel-by-voxel analytic method that attempts to compare imaging data between populations. Schizophrenia studies have utilized this method to localize differences in diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) derived fractional anisotropy (FA), a measure of white matter integrity, between patients and healthy controls. The number of publications has grown, although it is unclear how reliable and reproducible this method is, given the subtle white matter abnormalities expected in schizophrenia. Here we analyze and combine results from 23 studies published to date that use VBM to study schizophrenia in order to evaluate the reproducibility of this method in DTI analysis. Coordinates of each region reported in DTI VBM studies published thus far in schizophrenia were plotted onto a Montreal Neurological Institute atlas, and their anatomical locations were recorded. Results indicated that the reductions of FA in patients with schizophrenia were scattered across the brain. Moreover, even the most consistently reported regions were reported independently in less than 35% of the articles studied. Other instances of reduced FA were replicated at an even lower rate. Our findings demonstrate striking inconsistency, with none of the regions reported in much more than a third of the published articles. This poor replication rate suggests that the application of VBM to DTI data may not be the optimal way for finding the subtle microstructural abnormalities suggested in schizophrenia.

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