SPECT is an acronym for Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography, which is a type of nuclear imaging test that shows how blood flows to tissues in the brain. The way it works is like this:
1. A radioactive isotope, commonly idodine-123, is chemically bound to a substance that is readily taken up by cells in the brain. A small amount of this compound is injected intravenously and it runs throughout the blood stream and is taken up by certain receptors in the brain.
2. As the radioactive isotope decays, it emits gamma rays which are detected by a special camera that rotates around your head.
3. A computer then takes this information and reconstructs a 3-D image of your brain.
The result is a sophisticated map of blood flow and metabolism in the brain. With these maps, physicians have been able to identify certain patterns of brain activity that correlate with psychiatric and neurological illnesses. And offer insight into your brain and drug abuse.
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