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How Not to Use Brain Scans in Neuroscience - Neuroscience News

How Not to Use Brain Scans in Neuroscience - Neuroscience News

How Not to Use Brain Scans in Neuroscience - Neuroscience News
Aug 12, 2022 2 mins, 23 secs

Neuroscience research articles are provided.

Neuroscience can involve research from many branches of science including those involving neurology, brain science, neurobiology, psychology, computer science, artificial intelligence, statistics, prosthetics, neuroimaging, engineering, medicine, physics, mathematics, pharmacology, electrophysiology, biology, robotics and technology.

– Neurology research can include information involving brain research, neurological disorders, medicine, brain cancer, peripheral nervous systems, central nervous systems, nerve damage, brain tumors, seizures, neurosurgery, electrophysiology, BMI, brain injuries, paralysis and spinal cord treatments.

Definition of Psychology: Psychology is the study of behavior in an individual, or group.

Our psychology articles cover research in mental health, psychiatry, depression, psychology, schizophrenia, autism spectrum, happiness, stress and more.

Summary: While neuroimaging may be a standard in neuroscience and psychology research, a new study says researchers are massively underestimating how large the study sample must be for a neuroimaging study to produce reliable findings.

Yet a similar idea — that a lone snapshot of a brain can tell you about an individual’s personality or mental health — has been the basis of decades of neuroscience studies.

At the center of the research is MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) brain scans.

While invaluable for diagnosing brain conditions, they’ve also been used by researchers to draw links between a person’s brain structure and aspects of their personality and mental health.

Tervo-Clemmens and his colleagues call this technique brain-wide association scans, or BWAS, in a nod to “GWAS” studies that attempt to decipher the often-tiny effects of genes from massive datasets (as seen in dubious science headlines announcing “a gene for depression” or “a gene for intelligence”).

By repeating that process over and over, the researchers could figure out how likely it is that any given number of scans would produce a misleading result simply due to chance — and how many participants it takes for a study to be reliable.

Not every investigation requires 1,000 brain scans, they showed.

It’s only because a single brain scan reveals so little about a person’s personality and mental health that researchers need a massive amount of data before these complex traits begin to reliably stand out from the statistical noise.

And brain scans on their own are very effective for diagnosing conditions and mapping out the broader picture of how brains work.

“In my own area, one study might show that increased function of a particular brain region is related to more symptoms, but you can find, almost without question, another study showing the opposite effect.”.

Mental health research and care have yet to realize similar advances from MRI

A primary challenge has been replicating associations between inter-individual differences in brain structure or function and complex cognitive or mental health phenotypes (brain-wide association studies (BWAS))

Such BWAS have typically relied on sample sizes appropriate for classical brain mapping (the median neuroimaging study sample size is about 25), but potentially too small for capturing reproducible brain–behavioural phenotype associations


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