Ruling Out Other Things
How do doctors image the brain?Neuroimaging relies on a variety of different techniques, including radiation and magnetic fields, to generate pictures of what is going on inside the brain. These methods can visualize microscopic physical structures or capture the activity of individual cells.
CTThese scans generate "slices" of the brain. A rotating ring sends X-rays toward and through the body to collect information on film. A computer collates the information into images that doctors can view.
Doctors may use CT scans to make sure that a person with memory problems does not have a tumor or evidence of a stroke.
MRI (MR)The MR scanner’s strong magnetic field forces hydrogen atoms in body water and fat to line up along the same axis as our spine, from head to toe. Radio waves that target hydrogen join in, forcing some of these hydrogen atoms to absorb the energy, pulse, and spin in opposite directions. When the magnets are turned on and off rapidly, the spinning cells emit energy. These variations in energy readings are converted by a computer into images.
Doctors can use MR scans to identify tumors and strokes as well as to evaluate shrinkage in different brain regions.