Brain Imaging as a Diagnostic Tool


Brain imaging provides anatomical and functional techniques for experimental and clinical sciences.

Keywords: positron emission tomography; magnetic resonance imaging; neurology; diagnosis; function

Figure 1.

Phantom study. 18F‐labelled water in a ‘Derenzo‐phantom’. The phantom is a solid plastic disc with six sectors of holes, each of different radius (r) and separation (s). There is a uniform distribution of radioactivity in all the sectors, with clearly separated images even for holes 2 mm in diameter with a 10‐mm separation. Spectra next to each sector describe the measured count distribution in a single hole in each sector corresponding to a volume of 3.14 × (r2) × 5 mm3 (the thickness of the slice is 5 mm). Scale bar, 10 cm (each division is 2 cm). From Brownell et al., with permission.

Figure 2.

Stroke. This fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET) image shows hypometabolism of the right superior frontal lobe (arrow). The subject, a 55‐year‐old woman, had suffered a stroke 7 years previously. When the scan was performed, she was undergoing extensive physical therapy and taking ticlopidine 500 mg and Accupril (quinapril hydrochloride) 10 mg. A slight improvement of glucose metabolism in the affected area is noted in the tomogram shown in (b), which was taken nearly 9 months after that shown in (a). These images show marginal improvement over time in glucose metabolism that could be due to medication and/or physical therapy.

Figure 3.

Recurrent brain tumour. This fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET) image shows a recurrent tumour in the right temporal lobe adjacent to the site of previous surgery in a 49‐year‐old man taking Dilantin (phenytoin) 500 mg per day. PET was performed 4 months after the operation.

Figure 4.

Epilepsy. (a) This fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG‐PET) image shows hypometabolism of the right temporal lobe consistent with an interictal focus. At the time of the scan, the subject, a 29‐year‐old woman with drug‐resistant seizures, was taking carbamazepine (Tegretol XR) 800 mg daily. Clinically, she had a brief olfactory aura and anterior temporal spikes suggesting temporal lobe epilepsy. Video‐electroencephalography and PET were performed with the possibility of future surgery for epilepsy. (b) This FDG‐PET image shows hypometabolism of the right frontal lobe. The subject was a 20‐year‐old man with drug‐resistant seizures, taking oxcarbazepine 600 mg and zonagran (zonisamide) 100 mg per day. Clinically, the subject has partial seizures occurring approximately twice a month. Video‐electroencephalography and PET were performed with the possibility of future operation.



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Brownell, Anna‐Liisa, Eidelberg, David, Dhawan, Vijay, and Isacson, Ole(Oct 2002) Brain Imaging as a Diagnostic Tool. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0000025]