In a first of its kind functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, researchers at Columbia University have identified an area of the brain, called the CA1 subfield, which is involved in the earliest stages of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders… "By applying this imaging technology to a population of high-risk individuals, we wanted to see if we could find an area of the brain that is selectively targeted. In comparing those high-risk individuals who developed psychosis with those who did not, we found that only the CA1 subfield was abnormal in those young people who went on to develop schizophrenia. We believe that this may give us an early snapshot of disease," said first author Dr. Scott A. Schobel…"What many brain disorders have in common is that they are all relatively invisible to conventional imaging techniques. It is crucial to be able to visualize the most affected area of the brain and to pinpoint the region that is most vulnerable. This will give us clues into the causes of the disease," said Dr. Small.