ALAIN POL, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALAIN POL, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour computed tomography (CT) X-ray scan through the abdomen of a normal subject, made at the level of the kidneys, which appear in green at top of image. Other features visible include the backbone (top, in brown) and the abdominal aorta (in red, below the backbone). A CT scan is an image of a two-dimensional axial slice through the body made by a series of fine X-ray beams emitted from a source that moves in a full circle around the subject. A system of detectors opposite the source records transmitted X-rays from up to 1,000 points around the body and data is fed into a computer which constructs the image in 'real time'.
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