Cognitive therapy or medication? Brain scans may help personalize treatments

Pre­dict­ing How Patients Respond to Ther­a­py (press release):

A new study led by MIT neu­ro­sci­en­tists has found that brain scans of patients with social anx­i­ety dis­or­der can help pre­dict whether they will ben­e­fit from cog­ni­tive behav­ioral therapy…Social anx­i­ety is usu­al­ly treat­ed with either cog­ni­tive behav­ioral ther­a­py or med­ica­tions. How­ev­er, it is cur­rent­ly impos­si­ble to pre­dict which treat­ment will work best for a par­tic­u­lar patient. The team of researchers from MIT, Boston Uni­ver­si­ty (BU) and Mass­a­chu­setts Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal (MGH) found that the effec­tive­ness of ther­a­py could be pre­dict­ed by mea­sur­ing patients’ brain activ­i­ty as they looked at pho­tos of faces, before the ther­a­py ses­sions began.. “Our vision is that some of these mea­sures might direct indi­vid­u­als to treat­ments that are more like­ly to work for them”…  “It moves the field for­ward, and brings psy­chol­o­gy into more of a rig­or­ous sci­ence, using neu­ro­science to dis­tin­guish between clin­i­cal cas­es that at first appear homogeneous.”

Study: Pre­dict­ing Treat­ment Response in Social Anx­i­ety Dis­or­der From Func­tion­al Mag­net­ic Res­o­nance Imag­ing (Archives of Gen­er­al Psy­chi­a­try). From the abstract:

  • Results: Pre­treat­ment respons­es sig­nif­i­cant­ly pre­dict­ed sub­se­quent treat­ment out­come of patients selec­tive­ly for social stim­uli and par­tic­u­lar­ly in regions of high­er-order visu­al cor­tex. Com­bin­ing the brain mea­sures with infor­ma­tion on clin­i­cal sever­i­ty account­ed for more than 40% of the vari­ance in treat­ment response and sub­stan­tial­ly exceed­ed pre­dic­tions based on clin­i­cal mea­sures at base­line. Pre­dic­tion suc­cess was unaf­fect­ed by test­ing for poten­tial con­found­ing fac­tors such as depres­sion sever­i­ty at baseline.
  • Con­clu­sions: The results sug­gest that brain imag­ing can pro­vide bio­mark­ers that sub­stan­tial­ly improve pre­dic­tions for the suc­cess of cog­ni­tive behav­ioral inter­ven­tions and more gen­er­al­ly sug­gest that such bio­mark­ers may offer evi­dence-based, per­son­al­ized med­i­cine approach­es for opti­mal­ly select­ing among treat­ment options for a patient.

To Learn More about the Future of Per­son­al­ized Med­i­cine & the Brain:

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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