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A NUMBER OF researchers are seeking clinical applications for single photon emission computed tomographic (SPECT) images of demented patients. They have found that dementias have somewhat individual SPECT profiles. The challenge now, they say, is to determine if the SPECT information is meaningful to the clinician and to develop more specific radiotracers, such as tracers for individual neuroreceptors.
The initial work was done with positron emission tomography (PET), a sometimes more sensitive, but much more expensive technique. Recently, a number of centers began trying to duplicate the PET findings using SPECT. Developing SPECT could actually make dementia scanning fairly available, they say. Radiologists estimate that three fourths of the nation's nuclear medicine departments have SPECT scanning machines—either rotating or multiaperture gamma cameras.
Radioligand Now Available
The trick was to develop a radioligand for imaging blood perfusion that would pass through the blood-brain barrier—a lipophilic molecule—but that would stay in the
Kirn TF. Dementias Appear to Have Individual Profiles in Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography. JAMA. 1989;261(7):965–968. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420070015004
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