Mental disorders are the largest contributor to all cause morbidity, absence from work and early retirement in the EU. Biological mechanisms underlying these illnesses are not completely understood and no biological readouts to identify, stratify and monitor psychiatric patients exist. Such objective clinical tools are urgently needed to aid in the diagnostic process, facilitate optimal treatment selection and to identify at-risk individuals.
To improve the clinical management and aetiological understanding of mental illness through discovery of neuroimaging based diagnostic, trans-diagnostic and predictive markers and their translation into clinical tests and therapeutics.
IMAGEMEND will assemble an extensive integrative database comprising neuroimaging, genetic, environmental risk and clinical data on approximately 13000 patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and controls. Cutting-edge analysis tools will be employed to link structural and functional brain abnormalities to their genetic and environmental determinants and transform findings into highly accurate, multivariate decision tools. We will further develop and validate real-time fMRI based neurofeedback systems as an entirely new treatment modality for mental illnesses.
We expect IMAGEMEND to significantly improve the clinical management of mental illnesses and contribute to better patient outcomes by (a) making available the first ever objective tool for diagnosis, prediction and at-risk identification and (b) development of an entirely novel approach towards treatment of mental illness based on real-time fMRI neurofeedback.