Neuroimaging: windows into the brain

Effective treatment for any disease begins with accurate diagnosis. Cognitive and movement disorders' trademark symptoms of short-term memory loss, and judgment and reasoning impairment, are shared by other conditions. Therefore, the initial step is a thorough investigation by an experienced physician including laboratory testing and brain imaging to exclude conditions, other than Alzheimer's (AD).

Brain imaging is a key component of the care we provide at Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Our physicians use state-of-the-art imaging technologies and expert interpretations to help them diagnose and rule out disease, manage treatment and, increasingly, understand who is at risk for developing serious brain disorders.

We offer same-day access for imaging services and results are usually available within 24 hours.

Even if you are not receiving care from a staff physician at Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, to schedule an imaging appointment, please call 702.701.7948.

Our center offers the most technologically advanced imaging services, performed by Cleveland Clinic's Imaging Institute, one of the leading neuroimaging centers in the world. Our services include:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain
  • Positron emission tomography, metabolic or amyloid scanning
  • Functional MRIs (fMRIs)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

The exceptionally strong magnetic field of our 3.0 Tesla high-field open-bore MRI scanner results in superior image quality and short scan times. This scanner features advanced capabilities that allow performance of exams most other systems are unable to acquire. Thus, our radiologists gain the ability to see into the body in new ways, to detect and diagnose disorders at earlier stages, and to gather valuable information for research.

With its innovative design, the scanner can accommodate virtually all types of patients, including those with large body mass and those with claustrophobia. Our radiologists obtain the detailed images they need to provide the highest-quality care, at no sacrifice of patient comfort.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses magnetic fields to generate clear images of the brain. Researchers use MRI to measure the size of brain structures. Doing so enables them to see loss of volume in specific regions of the brain that indicate AD and see changes in brain volume and structure that reveal how the disease is progressing.

(left to right) Normal brain, brain diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the technology of choice for visualizing brain disorders. Painless and noninvasive, MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to produce magnificently detailed images of the brain.The powerful magnets cannot be used for patients with certain metal implants, such as pacemakers. For these patients, we offer computerized tomography (CT), a technology that uses X-rays and computers to acquire images.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

Positron Emission Tomography provides a non-invasive, safe, and painless window into the brain that enables scientists to confirm diagnostics. PET is expected to play a key role in evaluating the efficacy of new drug treatments designed to delay the progress of AD.

(left to right) Normal, Early Alzheimer's Disease, Late Alzheimer's Disease

PET is a nuclear medicine exam that demonstrates changes in brain metabolism relevant to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, frontotemporal dementia and many other brain disorders. Amyloid imaging via brain PET is widely used in Alzheimer's clinical trials, and has been approved for clinical use. PET can also demonstrate transmitter system abnormalities in Parkinson's disease, and can be used in other brain diseases and medical conditions.

Download a copy of our PET brochure to learn more.

Reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.

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