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Routine brain scanning in people experiencing psychosis could help to identify underlying physical conditions that are causing their symptoms, according to a new study.

MRI brain scanning machine

Researchers led by Dr Graham Blackman and Professor Philip McGuire at the University of Oxford reviewed the results of over 1,600 patients with a first episode of psychosis who had undergone an MRI brain scan.

They found that around six per cent of patients had a scan abnormality which led to a different diagnosis or a change to their clinical care.

Dr Blackman, an NIHR (National Institute for Health and Care Research) Clinical Lecturer at the University, says:

“Patients presenting with psychosis may have another physical illness or condition causing their symptoms that can be identified using MRI scanning. A failure to detect these causes at an early stage can have serious consequences, such as a delay in providing the appropriate treatment.

"Our findings suggest that MRI scans should be considered as part of the initial assessment of all people with first-episode psychosis to ensure that they get the right diagnosis and the right treatment.”

Read the full story on the Department of Psychiatry website.