The brain depends on the glucose
provided by the circulating blood for 99% of its energy needs. For
glucose to be used by the brain or any other organ, it must get
from the blood to the cells that need it. Many studies show that
the brain’s demand for glucose depends on its work related
requirements. It needs more when working hard, as is the case when
trying to remember something.
Many brain-imaging machines are available today.
However, only the Positron Emission
Tomography (PET) scan can detect areas of decreased or increased
brain glucose metabolism.
A PET scan measures brain metabolism using a small dose of isotope-labeled
glucose. By using the labeled glucose and then taking pictures of
the location of the glucose in the brain, we can visualize some
aspects of how your brain functions bio-chemically. The small amount
of radiation you receive from this isotope tracer is less than most
other medical imaging procedures and it conforms to FDA and other
radiation safety regulations. A PET scan allows us to quantitatively
evaluate how much glucose the cells in the various parts of the
brain use. The less glucose an area of the brain uses, the more
likely there have been disease-related changes.
Previous PET studies have found that brain glucose metabolism is
reduced in normal control subjects who are at increased risk for
AD based on genetic
factors or structural brain changes determined from MRI.
Brain glucose metabolism is reduced in the hippocampus
and entorhinal cortex
(brain regions important for memory) in individuals with mild
cognitive impairment (MCI), which is a risk factor for AD.
1. What is a PET Scan?
PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography. A PET scan is a neuroimaging
technique that uses a low-dose of radioactive glucose to measure
brain function. For more information, click
2. How long does the study take? Are these days consecutive?
The study takes 3-4 days to complete. Please refer to the sample
schedule. These days do not need to be consecutive. We understand
that our target population includes people that may have a full-time
job and we will try to accommodate their schedules as much as possible.
3. How are the participants compensated?
Participants do receive $100 upon completion of the PET scan
4. What is the purpose of this study?
The purpose of this study is to find early predictors of AD. If
there is decreased glucose metabolism in the brain, it may be a
sign of the development of AD.
5. Is this procedure safe?
Yes, this is a safe procedure. The amount of radiation received
during this study is a little more than what is used during a chest
x-ray. All procedures are FDA approved.
6. Where is BNL?
Brookhaven National Laboratories is located in Upton, Long Island.
On the day of your PET scan we will provide transportation to the
labs as well as a lunch.
7. What happens if you find something abnormal?
If we find any abnormalities we will inform you. If these problems
are potentially life threatening, you will meet with a doctor here
to discuss the next step. More than likely, you will be given a
referral to a doctor that will be able to care for you.
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