WILL & DENI MCINTYRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY WILL & DENI MCINTYRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Positron emission tomography (PET) brain scan in progress, showing the radiographer in the foreground and the scanner and patient in the background. The monitor screen shows the resulting colour-coded images of "slices" through the patient's brain. PET scans are used to study the level of function in tissues, as opposed to the structural information given by computed tomography scans. In PET, a positron-emitting, radioactive analogue of a substance involved in normal metabolism is injected into the bloodstream. The amount of radioactivity detected from brain tissues can thus be used as an indicator of metabolic activity.
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