01 Nov Neuroimaging Salon
The BRI Neurosciences Research Center Neuroimaging Salon Series serves as an interactive forum. Please join us to learn about the wealth of imaging resources that are available at BWH for exploring brain function and dysfunction, explore how these techniques can be applied in novel ways, across multiple disciplines, and discuss new ideas and collaborations. The target audience is neuroimaging researchers, imaging scientists, neuroscience investigators, and other investigators that are interested in the use in other systemic disorders.
On February 11, 2015, the Brigham Research Institute’s Neuroimaging Salon featured Tarun Singhal, MD, a neurologist who trained at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and completed his residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). As an Associate Instructor in Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School and a physician at BWH, Dr. Singhal is currently working on positron emission topography (PET) imaging in traumatic brain injuries and epilepsy.
At the Salon, Singhal spoke about the variety of imaging resources available at Brigham as well as to how they can be applied to specific types of neurologic cases. The focus of Singhal’s talk was the understanding of PET and SPECT scans of the brain and how they can provide unique insights into brain function and various diseases and conditions of the brain. PET and SPECT are both emission imaging devices and in Singhal’s presentation, he explained how in order for these types of scans to work, a tracer is required to ionize the radiation, producing gamma rays that are then detected by the imaging equipment.
In PET scans, a radioactive substance (usually glucose) is injected into the blood stream, which results in PET images presenting as a cloudy map of the activity in the brain. Radioactive signals emitted by the tracer are tracked and processed by the PET computer (Cyclotron). This computer is a particle acceleration device that ‘bombards’ an appropriate target and synthesizes the positron emitter, producing a colored computer image of the working brain. These scans are much more detailed than SPECT scans, however they omit more radiation and take longer to produce. To get the best possible PET scan, it is essential to position the scanner as close to the brain as possible in order to obtain the highest resolution scan.
In SPECT scans, a radioisotope tracer (usually 99mTc) is injected into the blood stream, emitting gamma radiation and decays while a gamma camera scans the radiation area and creates a slow movement scan image.