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The application of neuroimaging to provide mechanistic insights into circuit dysfunctions in major psychiatric conditions and the development of biomarkers are core challenges in current psychiatric research. We propose that recent technological and analytic advances in magnetoencephalography (MEG), a technique that allows measurement of neuronal events directly and noninvasively with millisecond resolution, provides novel opportunities to address these fundamental questions. Because of its potential in delineating normal and abnormal brain dynamics, we propose that MEG provides a crucial tool to advance our understanding of pathophysiological mechanisms of major neuropsychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders, and the dementias. We summarize the mechanisms underlying the generation of MEG signals and the tools available to reconstruct generators and underlying networks using advanced source-reconstruction techniques. We then surveyed recent studies that have used MEG to examine aberrant rhythmic activity in neuropsychiatric disorders. This was followed by links with preclinical research that has highlighted possible neurobiological mechanisms, such as disturbances in excitation/inhibition parameters, that could account for measured changes in neural oscillations. Finally, we discuss challenges as well as novel methodological developments that could pave the way for widespread application of MEG in translational research with the aim of developing biomarkers for early detection and diagnosis.

Original publication




Journal article


Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging

Publication Date





235 - 244


Biomarker, Brain imaging, Magnetoencephalography, Neural oscillations, Psychiatry, Translational Research