TIM BEDDOW / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY TIM BEDDOW / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Person undergoing a brain scan by Positron Emission Tomography (PET). The head of the patient (at right) is surrounded by the circu- lar detector, while the operator works a computer nearby. PET scanning is used primarily to study the brain, where it is used to display metabolic & chemical activities of brain tissue. It produces three-dimensional images and slices through the brain. The PET scan is preceded by injecting a radioisotope tracer into the patient; this tracer is detected in specific tissues by the emission of positrons (positively charged electrons). PET scans are useful in detecting tumours, locating epileptic activity, & examining mental illnesses.
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