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August 13, 1982

PETT scanners probe 'frontiers' of brain

JAMA. 1982;248(6):627-632. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330060007005

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Sometime this summer, Robert Beck will place his head inside one of the nation's newest positron emission transaxial tomography (PETT) scanners.

It will be a first for this particular device—in terms of scanning a human—but not for Beck, director of the University of Chicago's Franklin McLean Memorial Research Institute (FMI). He volunteered his head once before and is unlikely ever to forget the result.

Visiting St Louis in the fall of 1980, when PETT studies with monkeys had been completed at Washington University, Beck volunteered to be the first human to be scanned with the university's prototype PETT VI. The resulting images (Figure) produced a surprise: an asymmetric distribution of blood in the left temporal lobe of Beck's brain.

"I suspected I had a brain tumor," Beck recalls.

Back at the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine, Beck discussed the scans with Jerre Levy, PhD, whose work includes extensive