TIM BEDDOW / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY TIM BEDDOW / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan of the brain (temporal lobe level) of a patient poisoned by carbon monoxide gas. This gas is common in car exhaust fumes. The colour-coded scan through this cerebral layer shows brain activity: from low (blue) to high (yellow). PET scanning relies on an injected radioactive tracer to reveal variations in metabolic activity in the brain. Normal brain activity produces a roughly symmetrical pattern in the yellow areas of left (upper) & right cerebral hemispheres. This scan shows reduced activity in one hemisphere. Carbon monoxide gas deprives brain tissues of oxygen, and may lead to permanent brain damage or even death.
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