Research the latest techniques for studying and examining the brain. Such as MRI's, CAT scans, PET scans, and EEG's. Find out the advantages and disadvantages of each technique and under what...

Research the latest techniques for studying and examining the brain.

Such as MRI's, CAT scans, PET scans, and EEG's. Find out the advantages and disadvantages of each technique and under what conditions each would be used.

Asked on by eluck--10

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anukris9 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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Technological advancement has facilitated and enhanced the study of the brain. The imaging techniques and electrophysiological recordings have increased our knowledge about the workings of the nervous system.  These new methods are not only safe but hold promise for more precise information.  The positron emission tomography or PET is one of the most important techniques that measures blood flow to the brain.  The PET helps us understand energy consumption in the brain.  It is based on detection of radioactivity that is emitted when positrons undergo radioactive decay in the brain.  Small amounts radioisotopes that are introduced into the blood are taken up up the areas in the brain.  Their absorption depends on how hard neurons are working in that area.  Computers are utilized to build a three dimensional image of the changes in the blood flow based on the amount of radiation emitted from these different regions.  Use of the PET is extensive.  It has allowed us to understand more about how the brain operates during different behaviors such as learning a language and using a language. They are also useful in study of specific disorders such as depression, parkinson's disease, and stroke. Knowing about the changes in the brain of depressed patients through the use of PET scans have enabled scientists to understand the cause of depression.  It is believed that in the near future, PET will enable scientists to identify the biochemical nature of neurological and mental disorders and evaluate how well therapy is working in patients. Another unique technique is the SPECT or single photon emission tomography.  It is similar to the PET but its pictures are not as detailed.   MRI's or magentic resonance imaging are provide three dimesional images of organs and structures inside the brain.  They inform of when structural abnormalities appear, how they affect subsequent development, and how their progression relates to the mental and emotional aspects of a disorder. 

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