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Cerebral blood flow - An overview

Cerebral blood flow (CBF) studies are a type of medical imaging test that measures blood flow to the brain. These studies are important for the diagnosis and monitoring of various neurological conditions, including stroke, traumatic brain injury, and dementia.

There are several techniques used to measure CBF, including:

1. Positron Emission Tomography (PET): In PET scans, a radioactive tracer is injected into the bloodstream, and its movement through the brain is detected by a scanner. This technique allows for the measurement of both blood flow and metabolism in the brain.

2. Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT): Similar to PET, SPECT also uses a radioactive tracer to measure blood flow to the brain. However, the tracer used in SPECT emits a single photon, which is detected by a gamma camera.

3. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRI can also be used to measure CBF using a technique called arterial spin labeling (ASL). In ASL, magnetic labeling is used to tag the water molecules in arterial blood, allowing for the measurement of blood flow to different areas of the brain.

Cerebral blood flow studies can provide important information about brain function and help identify areas of the brain that may be affected by neurological conditions. They can also help monitor the progress of treatment and assess the effectiveness of interventions.