Head Movements Have Been Producing Consistent Bias in Brain Scans


A new study has shown that brain scans have an inherent bias towards making people with movement disorders seem to have less grey matter, writes Neuroskeptic in Discover. The findings, he writes, may be significant with respect to studies involving brain scans of people taking psychiatric drugs that either induce or reduce movement.

Neuroskeptic quotes the study authors: “These findings imply that great care needs to be taken when studying movement disorders or any disease/condition that affects motion directly or indirectly… in longitudinal studies, motion levels likely increase concurrent with disease severity, inducing increased spurious atrophy rates… any sedative, tranquilizing or neuromuscular blocking drugs may provide the desired ‘effect’ of reduced atrophy rates or even apparent neural augmentation, simply because they inhibit motion rather than providing a true anti-disease effect on brain structure.”

Head Motion Biases Brain Structural Scans (Discover, December 19, 2014)