Living with M.S.

"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become.
Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)


Sorting out 6 types of brain scans

If you or a loved one has multiple sclerosis, or even if doctors suspect that might be the case, you are probably already exploring brain scans. The subject can be mind boggling.

Generally, six types of brain imaging are employed in today’s medical environment.

These diagnostic procedures may be performed in a hospital or special imaging center.

  1. Computed Tomography (CT) / Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) – Known as a “CAT scan,” This test uses x-ray technology to generate an image of the central nervous system. Usually, dye is injected into the patient’s bloodstream to highlight possible inflammation, tumors, or other inconsistencies.
  2. Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) – The DTI measures the diffusion of water molecules in various sections of the brain. Abnormal imaging results may point to disease of injury.
  3. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) The MRI uses radio waves and powerful magnets to produce intricate images of the brain. Frequently, M. specialists request MRIs of the neck and spine as well.
  4. Functional Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (fMRS) – Like an MRI, an MRI Spect creates a detailed image of the brain. This advanced technology is useful for analyzing actual brain chemistry, as well as structure. An fMRS test may be ordered to evaluate possible brain cancer, injection, traumatic brain injury, or other potentially serious conditions.
  5. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) – This scan measures chemical and metabolic activity in the brain, in response to injected radioactive material in the patient’s body.  PET scans may be used to diagnose or assess risk factors for Alzheimer's, for example.
  6. Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) – In a SPECT scan, radioactive tracer technology aids physicians in diagnosing cancer, Parkinson’s, and certain other neurological disorders.

All of these brain imaging techniques are considered non-invasive, although a few may require introduction of contrast dye or radioactive material (usually by IV injection) into the patient’s bloodstream.

For MS, the MRI is the most commonly used form of brain imaging. Evoked potentials testing and lumbar punctures (spinal taps) are also frequently favored by MS specialists.

C'mon back to Kicking MS to the Curb to read an upcoming post on why I refused to undergo the spinal tap for an MS diagnosis. It's not for everyone.

Medical Scan
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