SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Autism. Coloured positron emission tomography (PET) scan of the brain of a 4 year old with autism. The colours show different levels of activity within the brain. Red shows high activity, through yellow and green to black (very low activity). There are areas of low activity in the right frontal cortex (on the left as the scan is taken from below), involved with language and conscious thought, and the rear of the brain, the visual processing centre. Autistic children show an abnormal introversion and lack of communication and social skills. PET scans use gamma cameras to detect radioactive tracers (in this case glucose), injected into the blood, that accumulate in areas of high metabolic activity.
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