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Molecular Imaging Homepage

Women's brains appear three years younger than men's at the same age: PET study A machine-learning algorithm assisted with the analysis

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Cherry (left) and Badawi with a
mockup of the EXPLORER

Courtesy: UC Davis

Top molecular imaging stories of 2018

by Lisa Chamoff , Contributing Reporter
While PET and SPECT have been engaged in a bit of a showdown as of late, with the PET market seeing most of the growth, there was no shortage last year of news related to both molecular imaging modalities. A brand-new SPECT technology even became commercially available.

Here are the top molecular imaging stories in 2018, according to our readers:

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Researchers undertake 'largest brain study' using 60,000 SPECT images

Using more than 60,000 SPECT scans from at least 30,000 patients, researchers showed how various disorders – such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and ADHD – as well as drug abuse age the brain, by looking at regional cerebral blood flow.

The researchers – from Amen Clinics, Google and various universities – showed how reduced regional cerebral blood flow can age the brain by seeing how their prediction of the patient’s chronological age matched their actual age. Patients ranged in age from nine months to 105 years old.

Patients with schizophrenia, for example, showed an average premature aging of four years, while alcohol abuse accelerated aging by 0.6 years and marijuana use made patients seem 2.8 years older than their actual age.

“In addition to treating these mental health conditions as well as adding brain-healthy lifestyle interventions, we need to stop thinking of alcohol as a health food and marijuana as innocuous,” psychiatrist Daniel G. Amen, founder of Amen Clinics and lead author of the study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, told HCB News at the time.

Spectrum Dynamics launches 12 detector SPECT system

Spectrum Dynamics commercially launched the 12 detector VERITON, a never-before-seen technology, at the SNMMI annual meeting in June in Philadelphia, expanding the market for SPECT with the goal of bringing back some procedures that had been taken over by PET.

"Nuclear Medicine has remained essentially unchanged for many years, with no innovation,” Christian O’Connor, VP and GM at Spectrum Dynamics, told HCB News at the time. “As a result, the number of SPECT procedures has been stagnant or even diminishing, generally losing procedure studies to PET and PET/MR.”

The company said that the VERITON achieves three times the volumetric sensitivity of conventional dual-head scanners, with 12 independently operated detector heads and technology that allows them to come within millimeters of the skin
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