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RESEARCH UNIT ON BRAIN IMAGING AND NEUROPSYCHOLOGY

The main focus of the research Unit is to achieve a better understanding of neurobiological underpinnings of major psychiatric disorders (bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, unipolar depression and autism) and to study the possible connection with outcome, neuropsychological and biological measures. The aim of our research group is to increase the knowledge of possible neural circuitry in these disorders and to study the timing and development of the neuroanatomical alterations, in order to achieve a better knowledge for an early detection and treatment of these disorders. The main fields of research are:  Brain Imaging: different neuroimaging techniques based on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) are being used, i.e. structural MRI, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), tractography, perfusion weighted imaging (PWI), MR spectroscopy (MRS) and functional MRI (fMRI). They allow to finely investigate brain microstructure, connectivity, vascular organization, biochemistry and activation. Our latest lines of research in multimodal imaging apply machine learning techniques to neuroimaging and neuropsychological data  Neuropsychology: a full neuropsychological assessment has been designed and validated to assess specific neuropsychological components that may be impaired in major psychoses, such as executive functions, language and cerebral communication. Cognitive remediation strategies are implemented  Neuro-immunology: in collaboration with the Neuro-immunology unit of San Raffaele in Milan it has been recently developed the neuro-immunological characterization of our samples by the blood level of inflammatory and pro-inflammatory cells and antibodies. Currently the Unit coordinates a multisite randomized trial on Cognitive Remediation strategies in psychosis, which aims to reduce the impact of cognitive impairment in chronic patients and it is conducting the post processing analyses of a recently completed project on functional MRI in bipolar mania. Both projects are funded by the Ministry of Health. Additionally, in collaboration with the University of Milan, the Unit is involved in multisite projects of multimodal imaging (Enpact, Enigma, Pronia). Over the years, the Unit members have published several scientific publications in international peer-reviewed journals.
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Marcella Bellani Mirella Ruggeri

Marcella Bellani
Temporary Assistant Professor
Cinzia Perlini
Temporary Assistant Professor
Nicola Dusi
Laboratory technician
Mirella Ruggeri
Full Professor
Topic Research area
Neruopsychopharmacology Pharmacology & Pharmacy
Clinical Psychology Psychology

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