Psychology routinely allows researchers to investigate how life impacts thinking and the human mind, creating methods that directly help people live better, happier lives. Radiology is an important medical field that allows doctors and other medical professionals to understand the human body’s condition holistically.
These two fields have several intersections and regularly come together to help medical professionals grasp the conditions of their patients, looking at the picture of both mind and body.
Today we’re going to shed light on three such intersections. These insights can help readers better appreciate the potential synergies of these two fields of medical science.
Intersection #1: understanding mental illnesses
Some mental illnesses can have severe effects on long-term health. Illnesses such as depression or schizophrenia can adversely impact one’s overall health if left either undiagnosed or untreated.
While diagnosis usually depends on a psychological examination, imaging technology makes research into these conditions possible through a different avenue. Technology created by imaging companies such as Maven Imaging allows doctors and researchers to understand the neurological divergences that drive these conditions and may even suggest ways to treat them.
One real-life example of this is research that occurred in 2021 when scientists utilised the technology of the Advanced Photon Source to compare neurons taken from the brains of people who had schizophrenia and people who did not. These neurons are helping researchers better understand how this illness affects the brains of those struggling with it.
Long term, radiology may help shed light on the effects of various forms of treatment and refine existing treatments that psychologists design to help people with schizophrenia manage their symptoms.
Intersection #2: catching non-mental illnesses
One unusual application is when psychologists use imaging technology to rule out other causes of behavioural changes. Some illnesses can cause behavioural changes without themselves being mental illnesses, such as brain tumours.
Indeed, brain scans sometimes reveal that what appeared as the onset of a mental illness resulted from something like damage to the tissue or skull. Occasionally, the underlying cause may be more treatable than a mental illness.
Still, psychologists are necessary because brain scans can’t diagnose mental illness. That’s where the intersection of radiology and psychology becomes necessary.
This sort of detective work can change, sometimes even save lives. It remains an under-considered intersection of radiology and mental health.
Intersection #3: development of new medical fields and trends
Psychoradiology is the current name given to the sub-discipline of medicine that refers to the fusion of radiology with psychology. This sub-discipline is still relatively new and not an official field. However, this field is likely to grow as technological advances continue to benefit both psychology and radiology.
Many already recognize the incredible synergy between efforts to study the human brain via imaging technology and psychology. In time, the number of people who understand the theoretical applications of using powerful imaging technology to gain a more accurate grasp of the human brain will only increase. As public interest in these ideas grows, so will opportunities for teamwork and cross-specialization.
As one can see, several intersections connect radiology and psychology. These intersections are valuable and produce cutting-edge research and theories that will one day advance both fields to new heights. One can envision a better, healthier future by understanding the intersections that connect these two valuable fields of study.
Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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