Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry


Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a new tool with which to explore the neurobiological basis of psychiatric illness. PET permits in-vivo measurement of regional cerebral blood flow, regional glucose metabolism, as well as information about neurochemicals and their receptors. Since regional cerebral bloodflow and glucose metabolism reflect ongoing neuronal activity, the neural bases of different cognitive processes and emotional states can be discerned using PET. Findings from recent studies in schizophrenia, affective disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, anxiety disorders, and dementia are reviewed with a special emphasis on how these findings may' be useful in developing a more comprehensive framework for understanding the neurobiological basis of psychiatric disorders. The relationship between PET and other brain imaging modalities, the imminent improvements in PET technology, as well as future directions of research are discussed.

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