Home » Diagnostic Tools » CAT & PET Scans for Diagnosis Bipolar Disorder

CAT & PET Scans for Diagnosis Bipolar Disorder

CAT (sometimes referred to as CT, computer axial tomography) scans are a diagnostic tool for problems in the brain. It’s a painless procedure, takes less time than an MRI, and doesn’t have the risks from the magnetic fields. It is used mainly to rule out other disorders before a diagnosis of bipolar disorder can be made.(1) Generally if there is something found abnormal on the CT scan, an MRI is ordered.

 “Information gathered from a CT scan isn’t useful in making a bipolar diagnosis”

 PET (Positron Emission Technology) Scans work differently. It uses radiation (eek!) or nuclear medicine imaging to produce a 3-D picture of the human body.(2) The machine detects pairs of gamma rays emitted indirectly by a positron(3) emitting radionuclide, which is in the body on an active molecule. The images are constructed on a computer, and many machines take a CT scan and X-ray during the procedure. Again, this is a painless procedure, just boring.

 PET scans are used to diagnose health conditions, or find out how an existing condition is developing, to see how the treatment is working.

 And now onto the mental illness part.

Pharma companies have been saying mental disorders are chemically based for years, but actually, there isn’t really any proof.(4) A PET scan is changing that, they are finding interesting results comparing PET scans from the mentally interesting to the normals.

 Research:

  • Depressed brains are more active

  • PTSD sufferer’s brains are less active

 The other side of the fence(5)

What Brain Scans Can Do

  • Show damage to brain tissue, the skull, or blood vessels in the brain

  • Be used with other medical tests to help doctors find the right diagnosis for mood and behavioral problems

  • Help researchers study healthy brain development, effects of mental illnesses or effects of mental health treatments on the brain.

Image

What Brain Scans Cannot Do

  • Diagnose mental illness when used by themselves

  • Predict risk of getting a mental illness.

 There is a lot of controversy surrounding brain scans and mental illness. Some say yes, some say no. Specific scans can show the damage done by drug use, however. They are mostly used to rule out neurological disorders. Perhaps in future years, technology will allow us to see into the brain more carefully.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/1928160

  2. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154877.php

  3. Positively charged particles

  4. http://gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/2011-11-27/pet-scans-proof-that-depression-is-a-chemical-imbalance-or-a-psychiatric-delusion/

  5. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/neuroimaging-and-mental-illness-a-window-into-the-brain/neuroimaging-and-mental-illness-a-window-into-the-brain.shtml

 

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30 thoughts on “CAT & PET Scans for Diagnosis Bipolar Disorder

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