ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Alzheimer's disease. Coloured positron emission tomography (PET, centre) and computed tomography (CT, left) scans of the brain of a 62-year-old woman who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease four years previously. The image at left shows the combined PET-CT scan. The front of the brain is at top in each scan. Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disease and a common cause of dementia in the elderly. It is caused by the formation of protein plaques in the brain, which kill surrounding neurons. The cause of these plaques is not known and there is no cure. The CT scan shows cortical atrophy and dilatation of the ventricles. The PET scan (using the radioisotope-labelled fludeoxyglucose) shows low metabolic activity (absence of yellow areas) in the temporoparietal cortex in both hemispheres of the brain.
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