DR M O HABERT, PITIE-SALPETRIERE, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR M O HABERT, PITIE-SALPETRIERE, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Degenerative brain disease. Coloured single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans of axial sections through the brain of a patient with olivopontocerebellar atrophy (OPCA). OPCA is a neurodegenerative disease, similar to Parkinson's, that may be present in multisystem atrophy. The scans show areas of low blood flow (blue and black), due to neuronal loss, in both cerebral hemispheres. This leads to the symptoms, which include; imbalance, incoordination, and kinetic tremor. There is no cure and drugs only alleviate symptoms in the short term. SPECT scans use gamma cameras to detect radioactive tracers, injected into the blood, that accumulate in areas of high metabolic activity.
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