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Nat Med. 2013 Sep;19(9):1184-9. doi: 10.1038/nm.3290. Epub 2013 Aug 25.

Simultaneous PET-MRI reveals brain function in activated and resting state on metabolic, hemodynamic and multiple temporal scales.

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Werner Siemens Imaging Center, Department of Preclinical Imaging and Radiopharmacy, Eberhard Karls University, Tuebingen, Germany.


Combined positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a new tool to study functional processes in the brain. Here we study brain function in response to a barrel-field stimulus simultaneously using PET, which traces changes in glucose metabolism on a slow time scale, and functional MRI (fMRI), which assesses fast vascular and oxygenation changes during activation. We found spatial and quantitative discrepancies between the PET and the fMRI activation data. The functional connectivity of the rat brain was assessed by both modalities: the fMRI approach determined a total of nine known neural networks, whereas the PET method identified seven glucose metabolism-related networks. These results demonstrate the feasibility of combined PET-MRI for the simultaneous study of the brain at activation and rest, revealing comprehensive and complementary information to further decode brain function and brain networks.

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