ORNL's awake imaging device moves diagnostics field forward

A technology being developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory promises to provide clear images of the 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 is not ideal because they can trigger that may alter the normal brain functions being studied.

With this new capability, researchers hope to better understand in babies, pre-teens and teen-agers. In addition, they believe the technology will provide unprecedented insight into conditions such as autism, drug addictions, alcoholism, traumatic brain injuries and Alzheimer's disease.

"With this work, we're hoping to establish a in noninvasive diagnostic imaging," said Justin Baba, a biomedical engineer who heads the ORNL development team.

The study, which was performed in collaboration with Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Laboratory and Johns Hopkins University, utilized an awake imaging scanner and awake, unanesthetized, unrestrained mice that had been injected with a radiotracer known as DaTSCAN, provided by GE-Medical.

With awake imaging using DaTSCAN and other molecular probes, Baba and colleagues envision development of new, 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 real-time stabilization and registration of targets during surgical intervention.

Baba noted that this technical accomplishment, detailed in a paper published in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, has its origins in past Department of Energy-supported research on biomedical imaging. The paper is titled "Conscious, Unrestrained Molecular Imaging of Mice with AwakeSPECT." Jim Goddard of ORNL's Measurement Science and Systems Engineering Division is a co-author.

While a working prototype scanner is located at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, ORNL is pursuing commercialization of the technology.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists lead rat race for better PET scan

Jun 19, 2012

Scientists in Australia have devised a method of scanning lab rats' brains as they scurry about freely, eliminating the need for anaesthesia or forced restraint, a report said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Mystery of the reverse-wired eyeball solved

2 hours ago

From a practical standpoint, the wiring of the human eye - a product of our evolutionary baggage - doesn't make a lot of sense. In vertebrates, photoreceptors are located behind the neurons in the back of the eye - resulting ...

Neurons controlling appetite made from skin cells

2 hours ago

Researchers have for the first time successfully converted adult human skin cells into neurons of the type that regulate appetite, providing a patient-specific model for studying the neurophysiology of weight ...

Quality control for adult stem cell treatment

5 hours ago

A team of European researchers has devised a strategy to ensure that adult epidermal stem cells are safe before they are used as treatments for patients. The approach involves a clonal strategy where stem cells are collected ...

A gene for brain size only found in humans

7 hours ago

About 99 percent of human genes are shared with chimpanzees. Only the small remainder sets us apart. However, we have one important difference: The brain of humans is three times as big as the chimpanzee ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.