Metabolic Studies with Positron Emission Tomography
Emission tomography is a visualization technique in nuclear medicine that yields an image of the distribution of a previouslyadministered radionuclide in any desired transverse section of the body. Positron emission tomography (PET) (1) utilizes the unique properties of the annihilation radiation generated when positrons are absorbed in matter. It is characterized by the fact that an image reconstructed from the radioactive counting data is an accurate and quantitative representation of the spatial distribution of a radionuclide in the chosen section. This approach is analogous to quantitative tissue autoradiography, but has the added advantage of allowing a wide variety of in vivo studies. These include quantitative measurements of brain-blood volume, blood flow, metabolism, tissue chemical composition and vascular permeability (1). This paper is devoted to a discussion of recent developments in the measurement of brain metabolism, especially oxygen consumption with PET. A more complete review of all aspects of PET can be found elsewhere (1).
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