The chemistry of the brain, as complex as it is, is becoming increasingly understandable with the use of fMRI (this stands for functional MRI….a type of scan available only in research settings). We can visualize the areas of brain that activate or deactivate during certain moods or actions. In Dr. Kandel’s piece, he notes that these scans are now able to predict whether an individual’s depression is more likely to respond to talk-therapy or to medication.
The future of psychiatry will be forever changes by these types of imaging technologies and their potential for putting the brain’s hidden functions on display. They may even allow the unlocking of the idea of consciousness, one of the great mysteries of the universe.