Pre-PET Headgear (Positron Emission Tomography)
In 1961, chemists at Brookhaven National Laboratory studied how to detect small brain tumors by analyzing the decay of radioactive material injected into the patient's bloodstream and preferentially absorbed by the tumor. To help them, BNL's Instrumentation Division built different arrays of detectors, and this circular type proved best. In the 1970's, BNL helped reconstruct the raw data received by the detectors into an image of the working brain. This breakthrough led to more practical devices for imaging areas of the brain: today's PET machines. BNL scientists have used PET technology to study major areas of medical research including drug and alcohol addiction, obesity and eating disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), aging, and neurodegenerative disorders.