Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are developing a technology they hope will provide clear images of the living brains of children, the elderly, and people with Parkinson’s and other diseases without the use of uncomfortable or intrusive restraints.
Awake imaging provides motion compensation reconstruction, which removes blur caused by motion, allowing physicians to get a transparent picture of the functioning brain without anesthetics that can mask conditions and alter test results. The use of anesthetics, patient restraints, or both can trigger brain activities that may alter the normal brain functions being studied.
The single-photon- emission computed tomography system is called AwakeSPECT.
“We’re hoping to establish a new paradigm in noninvasive diagnostic imaging,” says SPIE member Justin Baba, a biomedical engineer who heads the ORNL development team.
Baba and colleagues envision development of more effective therapies for a wide assortment of conditions and diseases while also contributing to pharmaceutical drug discovery, development, and testing. The technology could also help with surgeries.
The study was performed in collaboration with Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Laboratory and Johns Hopkins University. It utilized an awake imaging scanner and awake, unanesthetized, unrestrained mice that had been injected with a radiotracer known as DaTSCAN, provided by GE-Medical.