Our brains are so inaccessible that understanding what is happening inside them is a major challenge. Brain scans like MRI and PET scans help doctors and scientists look deep inside the brain for telltale signs of disease.
This MRI scan shows changes in the brain during Alzheimer’s – you can see that parts of the brain have started to shrink, especially the hippocampus (red), important for storing memories. The spaces within and around the brain are also enlarged (blue).
As well as helping scientists understand these diseases in more detail, new brain scan techniques can improve early detection and diagnosis. Early detection is important for the development of new treatments, as it allows potential new drugs to be tested in the right people at the right time – when they are likely to have the greatest benefit.
IMAGE COURTESY OF DR JULIO ACOSTA-CABRONERO, UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE