Biological Psychiatry Special Issue: Postmortem Research

Postmortem studies are critical to understanding psychiatric disorders

Philadelphia, PA, 18 January 2011 - Biological Psychiatry is proud to announce this week’s publication of a special issue focusing on postmortem studies of psychosis.

This special issue showcases the use of human brains postmortem to study psychiatric disorders, focusing on schizophrenia. The review articles highlight the benefits, achievements, problems, and perhaps most importantly, the future of postmortem research.

Postmortem research, which allows scientists to study the brain directly via its tissue, is difficult and expensive. Hence, it is a relatively rare avenue of research into brain disorders. Instead, such research more often focuses on studying the brain indirectly by using specialized imaging techniques, animal models, or blood markers.

However, the inherent difficulties of postmortem research can be overcome. Standards of tissue quality have been developed and are now commonly accepted. Brain banks have steadily increased their collections, increasing study sample sizes and thereby the robustness of their findings.

Advances in science and specialized techniques over recent years have also expanded the scope of the work that can be accomplished using postmortem brain tissue. In addition to structural distinctions, cellular, molecular, and genetic findings can be identified using a postmortem research approach.

Postmortem studies of brain have already contributed to our understanding of diseases such as schizophrenia, and will continue to do so. For example, critical work has already shown how brains from people with schizophrenia differ in terms of structure and function, and how the genes which contribute to causing these illnesses affect the brain.

Although these articles focus primarily on psychosis, postmortem work has the ability to shed light on a wide range of psychiatric disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and depression.

Biological Psychiatry will continue to welcome high quality research papers in this field.

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Notes to Editors: 
The discussed issue is  Biological Psychiatry, Volume 69, Number 2 (January 15, 2011), published by Elsevier. The issue is entitled “Postmortem Studies of Psychosis: Status, Opportunities, and Challenges[RC 1] .”

Contact Chris J. Pfister at to obtain a copy or to schedule an interview.

About Biological Psychiatry 
This international rapid-publication journal is the official journal of the Society of Biological Psychiatry. It covers a broad range of topics in psychiatric neuroscience and therapeutics. Both basic and clinical contributions are encouraged from all disciplines and research areas relevant to the pathophysiology and treatment of major neuropsychiatric disorders. Full-length reports of novel results, commentaries, case studies of unusual significance, and correspondence judged to be of high impact to the field are published, particularly those addressing genetic and environmental risk factors, neural circuitry and neurochemistry, and important new therapeutic approaches. Concise reviews and editorials that focus on topics of current research and interest are also published rapidly.

Biological Psychiatry ( is ranked 4th out of 117 Psychiatry titles and 13th out of 230 Neurosciences titles in the 2009 ISI Journal Citations Reports® published by Thomson Reuters. The 2009 Impact Factor score for Biological Psychiatry has increased to 8.926.

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Research Intelligence and ClinicalKey— and publishes over 2,500 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and more than 35,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a world-leading provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries.

Media contact 
Chris J. Pfister
+ 1 215-239-3266