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Radiology

Positron Emission Tomography

Positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) are two more technologies that rely on computers. PET has been used primarily to study the dynamics of the human body. In other words, not just to see images, but to understand the processes that go on in certain areas of the body. For example, radioisotopes (naturally occurring or artificially developed radioactive substances) injected into a patient can be imaged through PET computerized technology, allowing scientists to watch how metabolism works in the brain and other parts of the body. With this technology, scientists can watch glucose metabolism, oxygen consumption, blood flow, and drug interactions.

SPECT uses radionuclides (radioactive atoms) to produce images similar to CT scans, but in much more precise three-dimensional images. The use of dual cameras, one above and one below the patient, enables radiologists to obtain simultaneous images that are then processed by computers to provide improved resolution of a structure in less time. In addition, small organs, like thyroid glands, can be better imaged for both diagnosis and research.


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