Positron emission tomography (PET) is an essentially non-invasive technique for measuring localized functional activity in the brain and elsewhere in the body in a quantitative manner with good topographical resolution. PET is an area of burgeoning research activity in which advances in camera design and in data acquisition and analysis have allowed repeated, rapid measurements of cerebral blood flow to be made down to a resolution of 6 mm or better. This symposium is, to our knowledge, the first to be published on the application of PET to the mapping of human cerebral cortical function. It includes chapters on aspects of the technology of PET and on its use clinically and in basic research into brain function. Other chapters describe the use of the technique to study the human somatosensory system and motor system, the human visual system (with the first direct evidence for separate colour and motion centres and pathways in the visual cortex), and higher-order processes such as attention, memory, intention, learning and language in humans. Chapters on the use of PET to study frontal lobe function in relation to psychiatric disease, and brain injury and recovery from it, illustrate the application of this imaging method to the clinical field. The fully edited discussions between neurologists, physiologists, neuroanatomists, psychiatrists, physicists, statisticians and other experts serve to highlight problems in the current protocols and to identify future directions in the exploitation of positron tomography both in basic neuroscience research and in medicine.
Partial table of contents:
Basic Aspects of Functional Brain Metabolism (R. Collins).
Rapid Measurement of Cerebral Blood Flow with Positron Emission Tomography (H. Iida, et al.).
Optimization of Signal in Positron Emission Tomography Scans: Present and Future Developments (D. Townsend).
Positron Emission Tomography Studies of the Somatosensory System in Man (P. Roland & R. Seitz).
A Thought Experiment with Positron Emission Tomography (S. Zeki).
Memory Mechanisms in the Processing of Words and Word-Like Symbols (M. Raichle).
Language Activation Studies with Positron Emission Tomography (R. Wise, et al.).
The Functional Anatomy of Recovery from Brain Injury (R. Frackowiak, et al.).