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Magnitude and variability of structural brain abnormalities in neuropsychiatric disease: protocol for a network meta-analysis of MRI studies


Introduction Structural MRI is the most frequently used method to investigate brain volume alterations in neuropsychiatric disease. Previous meta-analyses have typically focused on a single diagnosis, thereby precluding transdiagnostic comparisons.

Methods and analysis We will include all structural MRI studies of adults that report brain volumes for participants from at least two of the following diagnostic groups: healthy controls, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, delusional disorder, psychotic depression, clinical high risk for psychosis, schizotypal personality disorder, psychosis unspecified, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder, major depressive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, emotionally unstable personality disorder, 22q11 deletion syndrome, generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, mixed anxiety and depression. Network meta-analysis will be used to synthesise eligible studies. The primary analysis will examine standardised mean difference in average volume, a secondary analysis will examine differences in variability of volumes.

Discussion This network meta-analysis will provide a transdiagnostic integration of structural neuroimaging studies, providing researchers with a valuable summary of a large literature.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42020221143.

  • schizophrenia & psychotic disorders
  • adult psychiatry
  • depression & mood disorders
  • personality disorders
  • psychiatry

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. All data relevant are presented within the manuscript.

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