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Papers of the Week

2022 Nov 17

J Psychiatr Res


Feasibility and usefulness of brain imaging in catatonia.


Magnat M, Mastellari T, Krystal S, Hanafi R, Mateos M, Hacein-Bey L, Haroche A, Rogers JP, Williams SCR, Pruvo JP, Amad A
J Psychiatr Res. 2022 Nov 17; 157:1-6.
PMID: 36427412.


Catatonia is a well characterized psychomotor syndrome that has recognizable motor, affective, behavioural and vegetative manifestations. Despite recent demonstration that catatonia is often associated with brain imaging abnormalities, there is currently no consensus or guidelines about the role of brain imaging. In this study, we assessed the feasibility of brain imaging in a series of patients with catatonia in a routine clinical setting and estimated the prevalence of clinically relevant radiological abnormalities. Sixty patients with catatonia were evaluated against sixty non-healthy controls subjects with headache. The MRI reports were reviewed, and MRI scans were also interpreted by neuroradiologists using a standardised MRI assessment. In this cohort, more than 85% of brain scans of patients with catatonia revealed abnormalities. The most frequently reported abnormalities in the catatonic group were white matter abnormalities (n = 44), followed by brain atrophy (n = 27). There was no evidence for significant differences in the frequency of abnormalities found in radiology reports and standardised neuroradiological assessments. The frequency of abnormalities was similar to that found in a population of non-healthy controls subjects with headache. This study shows that MRI is feasible in patients with catatonia and that brain imaging abnormalities are common findings in these patients. Most frequently, white matter abnormalities and diffuse brain atrophy are observed.