Behavioural Phenotypes and the Transdiagnostic Nature of Psychiatric Disorders
Current nosological categories in psychiatry lack a biological definition and are thus necessarily heterogeneous from a mechanistic point of view In order to progress to individualized therapies, this motivates a research strategy that investigates the neural substrate of disorder-associated behaviors that are often transdiagnostic (Insel et al., 2010).
Functional brain imaging has provided insights into the nature of brain dysconnectivity in mental illness. We propose that genetic and environmental risk factors converge upon systems-level circuits for several core dimensions of cognition, producing transdiagnostic symptoms. We argue that risk-associated disruption of these circuits mediates susceptibility to broad domains of psychopathology rather than discrete disorders (Buckholtz & Meyer-Lindenberg, 2012).
By combining neuroimaging with ecological momentary assessment, we find that specific risk/resilience circuits are linked to everyday behaviors, such as social interactions or movement, and context factors, such as urban or natural environments, that help explain interindividual variation in risk that can be utilized for precision therapy and precision prevention strategies (Tost, Champagne, & Meyer-Lindenberg, 2015).
Buckholtz, J. W., & Meyer-Lindenberg, A. (2012). Psychopathology and the human connectome: toward a transdiagnostic model of risk for mental illness. Neuron, 74(6), 990-1004. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2012.06.002
Insel, T., Cuthbert, B., Garvey, M., Heinssen, R., Pine, D. S., Quinn, K., . . . Wang, P. (2010). Research domain criteria (RDoC): toward a new classification framework for research on mental disorders.Am J Psychiatry, 167(7), 748-751. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2010.09091379
Tost, H., Champagne, F. A., & Meyer-Lindenberg, A. (2015). Environmental influence in the brain, human welfare and mental health. Nat Neurosci, 18(10), 1421-1431. doi:10.1038/nn.4108
Keywords: Transdiagnostic phenotypes, research domain criteria, dysconnectivity, environmental risk, resilience, precision prevention