Article Title

Editorial: The emerging role of SPECT functional neuroimaging in psychiatry and neurology


“Emerging” is somewhat of a misnomer when used to describe the role of perfusion single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) neuroimaging in Neurology and Psychiatry. More appropriate terms that come to mind are “misunderstood” or “ignored and undervalued”. The description which most springs to mind based on the comprehensive review by Pavel et al. (A) is “well-established, but overlooked and underutilized”. Perfusion SPECT neuroimaging has been available for a long time—over 40 years, using current tracers—still the field has not stagnated. New technology, processing techniques, normative databases, and statistical analysis algorithms have been refining the field on an ongoing basis. Amen and Easton, Pavel et al. (A) and Pavel et al. (B) provide in-depth looks at the technological advances. SPECT scans are not the Rorschach-like blobs of the 1980's, but detailed examinations of activity patterns within the human brain (using the one-off metric of perfusion), which provide a certain level of anatomical accuracy and can be compared to normative databases for differential diagnoses with high sensitivity and specificity [Pavel et al. (A)].


Neurological imaging, SPECT imaging, Imaging in psychiatry, Diagnoses

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