We hope you never have to consult a neurologist, but just in case, you may someday need to, you should know about a few powerful brain scanning techniques. These techniques, also known as Neuroimaging, help your doctor understand the health and structure of your rain via powerful imaging methods.
Each of these tests has different utilities and presents to the doctor a different aspect of your brain’s map. For instance, some tests are used to analyse if the chemical composition inside your head is fine, these tests fall under the category of functional imaging. The other tests fall under the category of structural imaging, as they help detect any physical abnormality, tumour, injury or birth defects in your brain.
We understand it could get very confusing for a non-medical person, and thus, in this article, we present to you a list of various types of head scans and their purposes. Read on:
- Positron emission tomography (PET)
This scan falls under the category of functional imaging. In this test, sugar glucose is used to measure the activity level of neurons. Especially helpful in the diagnosis of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, this test takes advantage of the fact that sugar glucose is a power source for our brain cells.
The active cells would immediately star functioning higher on receiving sugar glucose, thus requiring more oxygen. To help the brain receive more oxygen, the blood circulation of the active parts of the brain increases. Prior to the test, an isotopic radioactive compound is injected in the blood to help detectors catch the blood movement.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
A structural imagine test in nature, it is generally used to diagnose the psychological conditions of your brain while discriminating between the cerebrospinal fluid, grey matter and the white matter present in your brain. Echo waves are used to detect the brain’s physical structure, and MRIs are non-invasive in nature.
MRIs can also be performed on pregnant ladies and have no risk for the uterus also. However, they require the person being examined to stay still for a long period of time to get the most accurate representation.
- Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
This one also works as the functional variant of the otherwise only-structural MRIs. fMRIs are faster and more fun, as some would say. A patient is required to perform some mental tasks, and the test diagnoses their mental state while they are it. the active parts of the brain “light up” and are fast fMRIs capture multiple images at a time to detect movement and activity.
Most research conducted on how stimulus influences our brain, says the impact of visual graphics or music’s on our brain, has been possible because of the precision and agility of fMRIs.
- Computed tomography (CT)
CT scans, along with MRIs, fall under the category of radiology too. In a CT scan, the brain is exposed to powerful X-rays to determine any harm or injury that may have been caused to the delicate parts of the brain, after an accident.
CTs are also instrumental in detecting the cause of a severe headache, dizziness, or a potential brain tumour. Contrary to most scans done on the brain, CT scans are far quicker and lesser expensive.
Electroencephalography or as it is commonly known, EEG helps neurologists to understand the psychological activity of your brain. Particularly helpful in detecting the medical ailments which cause inactivity or over-activity inside the brain, EEG works on the model of electronic signals.
Electrodes are placed around the head of a patient and depending upon the varying altitudes and frequencies of the EEG signal received, it can be determined which parts of the brain are more inactive or over-active compared to others.
We hope this article helped you understand the 5 most common types of head scans and their process. Let us know in the comments, shall you need any more help.