MRI and PET scans information
Magnetic Resonance Imaging(MRI) and Positron Emmision Tomography(PET) scans allow a window on the functional brain. By combining these technologies we can discover where and what is occuring inside the brains of PTSD patients that is different from individuals without PTSD.
This is an MRI scan. An MRI shows the anatomy of a patient. Dr. Bremner and group found an 8% decrease in the volume of a structure involved in memory called the right hippocampus in PTSD victims. Some of the studies that are being carried out at the Trauma Assesment Unit plan to discover why this alteration occurs.
A pet scan uses a radioactive isotope to show areas of brain activity. The brighter sections indicate elevated regions of activity. By comparing PET scans of individuals with PTSD to those without PTSD, we can decipher some of the functions that have been changed by the trauma.
For more information on imaging technologies look at these sites.
Yale MRI center
The Imaging center at the Yale Medical School (graphics intensive)
If you have medical concerns about PET scans or questions about imaging in general please send email