Brain SPECT: What it is and how does this neuroimaging method work

Neurological evaluations are diverse. There is a wide range of methods that can be used to determine whether our brains are functioning in a conserved manner or whether there are abnormalities.

The technique called brain spectrum it is a method which allows to see images referring to the functioning of specific parts of the brain by means of substances which are injected into the body of the subject.

In this article, we will review the main characteristics of this evaluation technique, we will see in which cases it is applicable and its contribution in the pharmacological field.

    What is the spectrum of the brain? Characteristics

    The brain spectrum is a neurological assessment tool that mainly consists of injecting a substance intravenously, which adheres to specific brain structures according to its chemical composition, and allows the assessor to observe the functioning of this area, in particular.

    This is possible thanks to the fact that the substance injected into the body has a detection mechanism by means of radioactive isotopes, Which are added to the patient’s body intravenously. Before that, a source of gamma radiation must be applied to the subject. Once this substance is in the assessor’s body, it mixes with their blood until it reaches the brain, and this is where it adheres to the structure for the specialist to assess. As we mentioned earlier, the chemical makeup of the substance will be what determines what specific structure of the brain it adheres to.

    This method, also called tomography calculated by simple emission of photons, it is extremely convenient to perform, Whereas it does not require any complex preparation. It is only the application of gamma radiation to the patient for subsequent intravenous injection into the body. Then the substance is responsible for touring and showing the areas of interest

    The estimated duration of this method is approximately one hour, calculating the entire aseptic process before application.

    What are you evaluating?

    Basically, there are three aspects that this test can assess. It is the study of brain perfusion of tumor viability and brain receptors.

    1. Brain perfusion

    It is evaluated by radioisotopes, which depending on the patient’s blood flow, they will be fixed in the brain tissue. This procedure provides meaningful information about vascular pathologies that are difficult to detect with other examinations.

    Apart from that, it is also effective in indirectly showing the activity of neurons. This aspect is of great importance in the field of psychiatry.

    2. Viability of the tumor

    Tracers are used which do not pierce the network of blood vessels, which remains intact. These tracers are actively incorporated into the subject’s body in the form of potassium-like substances.

    The importance of this assessment lies in determine tumor conditions or natural changes in the body as a result of surgery.

    3. Neuro-receptors

    Finally, this analysis allows us to assess the density and distribution of the different receptors possessed by the central nervous system (CNS). It is carried out through the emission of isotopes specially marked for the procedure.

    This aspect is the most recent in terms of evaluation of cerebral aspects. Still, it has shown a fairly good degree of effectiveness when needed.

      In which cases does it apply?

      This form of assessment has proven to be extremely useful in a wide variety of cases; it is even capable of detecting neurological and psychiatric abnormalities that other techniques ignore.

      Some of its more common uses are in cases where the extent of cerebrovascular disease (CVD), Parkinson’s disease, dementia in all its forms, and epilepsy needs to be assessed. In these assessments, the brain spectrum is extremely efficient. He is also capable of recognize areas of the brain with less than normal blood supplyThis results in a very effective form of prevention of cerebrovascular disease.

      With regard to epilepsy, this evaluation technique makes it possible to capture the irritating focus during the seizure using the photogram, which makes it possible to know exactly which area of ​​the brain is affected and the necessary intervention can be carried out. .

      As for psychiatric illnesses, it is very useful to establish the differential diagnosis between disorders, And really largely with regard to a particular dementia. It also provides information on the recognition of multiple more complex neuropsychiatric pathologies.

      Contributions to pharmacology

      In the field of pharmacology, the brain spectrum has been of great help in helping to determine which drugs are most effective as it iterates with the nervous system, especially drugs that inhibit neurotransmitters.

      Since this technique allows you to clearly see how the drug moves around the body, the level of blockage of a particular substance, and when it can last its effect before a new dose is needed.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Dougall NJ, Bruggink S, Ebmeier KP (2004). “Systematic Review of Diagnostic Accuracy 99mTc-HMPAO-SPECT in Dementia.” I am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 12 (6): 554-570.
      • Scuffham JW (2012). A CdTe detector for hyperspectral SPECT images. Instrumentation magazine. IOP instrumentation log. 7: P08027

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