Positron Emission Tomography Neuro-Imaging
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a powerful imaging technique exploring in
vivo brain functions. Today PET is becoming an essential tool in specialist clinical neurology
settings particularly for diagnosing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and epilepsy disease states.
This inaugural article aims to deliver a brief insight into PET techniques in
the diagnosis of neurological diseases including multiple sclerosis.
The imaging of the human body can be traced back to 1895 with the discovery of
x-rays by the 1901 Nobel Laureate Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen.
Currently a variety of imaging techniques are used to effectively assist the diagnosis of disease in humans.
These include Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) all capable of generating 3-D anatomical images of the human body.
Since the 1990s a revolutionized imaging tool for Nuclear Medicine has
emerged called Positron Emission Tomography (PET).
PET, in contrast to other conventional imaging techniques, provides an insight into
the biochemical/physiological processes of the human body.
The biochemistry of the body is altered when it is in a disease state. For example,
PET imaging has the capability to detect certain cancer stages before apparent structural changes appear,
whereas MRI is unable to see these subtle changes.
PET utilizes ‘positron’ emitting radiotracers to deliver images of the human body.
Neuro Open J. 2014; 1(1): 7-10. doi: 10.17140/NOJ-1-102