Introduction to neuroimaging in EMDR research


In the recent years the number of neuroimaging studies evaluating neural correlates of psychotherapy has steadily increased revealing its clear neurobiological effects on brain function across a wide range of psychiatric disorders. Functional studies by single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET) detect changes in cerebral blood flow and metabolism patterns, identifying the brain areas processing the various components of emotional processing and/or affected by the disorders. investigations by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have also revealed psychiatry disease-related structural changes. The first part of the workshop (20 minutes) will describe the neuroimaging methodologies implemented in EMDR research and their possible clinical implementations will be discussed. In the second part (10 minutes) neuroimaging studies on the neurobiological effect of EMDR will be reviewed (1-5). The third part of the workshop (30 minutes) will deal with the last findings in EMDR research and will focus on a recent studies published by our group on the Journal of Psychiatry Research about the predictive value of MRI on the outcome of EMDR therapy (6).Moreover a collaborator of our group will describe and present the preliminary findings of an ongoing experiment aiming to identify the neurophysiological mechanisms active during EMDR therapy. The description and the discussion about the contents of the workshop will provide the audience 1 the necessary information to understand the methodological principles behind the neuroimaging techniques (PET and SPECT) and their possible applications in research and clinic; 2, the critical knowledge of the limited number of published papers in the field of EMDR-related functional and anatomical studies (1-6); 3. the basic research principles and examples to be motivated to begin, take part and/or collaborate to EMDR research in order to shed light on the neural basis of this fascinating psychotherapeutic technique. The presented material will represent the state-of-the-art of the current neuroscience EMDR-related research and of the neuroimaging methodologies available at the moment. in case more contributions will be included in this workshop the proposed presentation time schedule might change. References: Lansing et al. (2005). J Neuropsych Clin Neurosci; l7(4):526-532. Propper et al. (2007). J Nerv Met Dis; 195:785-788. Ho DH and Choi J. (2007). J EMDR Pract Res; l(l):24-30. Pagani et al. (2007). Nuc Med Comm: 28(10):757-65. Bossini et al (2007). J Neuropsych Clin Neurosci; 19(4):475-476. Nardo et al. (2010). J Psychiatry Res; D0110.1016/jjpsychires.2009.10.014






Marco Pagani

Original Work Citation

Pagani, M. (2010, June). Introduction to neuroimaging in EMDR research. Presentation at the 11th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Hamburg, Germany



“Introduction to neuroimaging in EMDR research,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed August 14, 2020,

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