Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography is performed with a new radionuclide which has proven safe for the sensitive patient. This Scan uses three cameras to give a 3 dimensional exposure of the organ investigated. The radionuclide crosses the blood brain barrier and remains frozen in the brain. This phenomenon provides an accurate cerebral map of regional brain physiology. The tomography provides anatomic and brain function information.
Holes or defects in the surface of the brain represent decreases in perfusion (absorption) and decreases in neuronal activity. Chemicals cause decreases in neuronal activity, the radionuclide is not absorbed and dark areas are seen. The SPECT shows blood flow and the neuronal activity of certain parts of the brain making it possible to distinguish what functional activities of a specific portion of the brain are impaired.
This scan is successfully utilized to differentiate dementia from depression and can verify memory problems. It can assess vascular disease and can identify brain tissue at rest for infarct. It can provide the prognosis of a completed stroke. Seizure disorders can be mapped, and chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosed. It can provide evidence of drug or alcohol abuse.
Its most important function for the chemically exposed or chemically sensitive patient is its ability to show toxic substance exposure, the areas of the brain which are affected, and the degree of involvement. This information is important for verifying diagnoses related to toxic substance exposure and in prescribing correct treatments. The results of this Brain SPECT Scan have been used successfully in toxic exposure court cases.
Other scans which are available for patients of the Environmental Health Center-Dallas are heart scans and bone scans.