Can Brain Scans See Depression?, by Benedict Carey
In 2005, an article in the New York Times noted that brain scans, long celebrated as “snapshots of the living human brain,” had been counted upon to illuminate the mystery of mental illness but that the promise had not been fulfilled (Carey 2005).
The neuroscientists’ response, expressed in that article by Steven Hyman, was that those who oversold the technology forgot that “the brain is the most complex object in the history of human inquiry.” For him, the key consisted of pursuing the same line of research. Since that is indeed what happened, it is appropriate to ask what kind of progress has been made.
Can Brain Scans See Depression?
They seem almost alive: snapshots of the living human brain.
Not long ago, scientists predicted that these images, produced by sophisticated brain-scanning techniques, would help cut through the mystery of mental illness, revealing clear brain abnormalities and allowing doctors to better diagnose and treat a wide variety of disorders. And nearly every week, it seems, imaging researchers announce another finding, a potential key to understanding depression, attention deficit disorder, anxiety.
Yet for a variety of reasons, the hopes and claims for brain imaging in psychiatry have far outpaced the science, experts say.
After almost 30 years, researchers have not developed any standardized tool for diagnosing or treating psychiatric disorders based on imaging studies.
Read the full New York Times article below: