PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan of the brain of a person who suffers from epilepsy. PET scans are used to study the level of function in tissues, as opposed to the structural information given by CT (computed tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance) images. In PET, a radioactive analogue of a substance involved in normal metabolism is injected into the bloodstream. The amount of radioactivity detected can thus be used as an indicator of metabolic activity. For example, the isotope oxygen-15 has been used to study how oxygen supply (blood flow) and demand (consumption in tissues) are related in certain diseases, including epilepsy.
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