Brain Imaging


What is Functional Brain Imaging?

How do you know what’s wrong unless you look inside the organ responsible for your symptoms? Many brain-based disorders are tied to abnormal cellular activity, which can be viewed by looking at blood flow and dopamine abnormalities. The technology behind qSPECT® and DaTscanTM brain imaging makes it possible to measure your brain’s functionality to help you and your doctor understand the root cause of your symptoms.


Quantitative single-photon emission computed tomography (qSPECT) is a type of nuclear imaging procedure that uses a radioactive substance (99mTc-HMPAO) and a special camera to capture millions of datapoints per imaging session. CereScan’s advanced software, CereMetrix®, use these datapoints to create 3D pictures of the brain and measure blood flow levels in up to 120 regions of the brain to pinpoint areas of statistically hypo (decreased) and hyper (increased) blood flow, as compared to a composite average. Baseline (at-rest) and concentration (activated) qSPECT® imaging options are available to assist your provider in differentiating between complex brain disorders.

qSPECT®, in many cases, can see what structural imaging, like MRI and CT, often misses. qSPECT® imaging measures blood flow levels in up to 120 regions of the brain to pinpoint areas of statistically hypo (decreased) and hyper (increased) blood flow, as compared to a composite average, and help doctors differentiate between complex brain disorders.
A baseline scan captures blood flow patterns in the brain’s relaxed, organic state. During this scan, patients wear noise cancelling headphones and close their eyes in a dimly lit room to initiate a state of rest in the brain.
A concentration scan measures how the brain’s blood flow changes during activation. To activate the brain, a patient is administered a cognitive test (the Stroop color-word test) with the goal of increasing blood flow to the brain. In a healthy brain, blood flow increases as the brain works harder. In some patients with complex neurological or psychiatric conditions, blood flow will decrease during this scan. This reduction in blood flow is called “deactivation”.
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DaTscan is a radiopharmaceutical indicated for striatal dopamine transporter visualization using single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) brain imaging to assist in the evaluation of adult patients with suspected parkinsonian syndromes (PSs). DaTscan may be used to help differentiate an essential tremor from a tremor due to PSs (idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD), multiple system atrophy (MSA), and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)).

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Looking for Answers?

CereScan® can help by pinpointing the exact areas of the brain that may be responsible for the symptoms you may be experiencing. Using FDA-cleared advanced software, detailed medical history and clinical assessments, we provide data and images to help you and your provider better understand:

What to Expect

Our sole mission is to provide you with the most accurate and comprehensive diagnostic experience using cutting-edge technology and innovation. At CereScan®, you can trust that your experience will be unmatched in terms of level of care and that you will receive access to the most sophisticated functional brain imaging technology in the world today.

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Before Your Scan

You may be given specific instructions regarding medications you may be taking and asked to consult with your treating provider to determine whether it is safe to withhold some or all of them leading up to your imaging appointment. In addition, you will be asked to abstain from consuming some common substances including caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.

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How a Brain Scan is Performed

A SPECT brain image requires a small amount of radioactive material called a tracer, which is given intravenously in the arm. This tracer travels through your blood stream and is absorbed immediately by the brain and your body. You are then asked to drink fluids and wait approximately 60 minutes to allow the tracer to wash out of your glands and sinuses.  This washout period allows us to eliminate artifact and achieve the highest quality of brain imaging.

After the washout period, you will be escorted into the scanning room where you will lie on a table which slides into the SPECT machine. The SPECT machine detects signals from the radioactive tracer and advances software packages changes these signals into a 3-D picture that are evaluated by a highly trained radiologist. CereScan® scanners give the best image quality available today and utilize an open, non-claustrophobic design for your comfort. Actual time on the camera bed for SPECT brain image scan typically lasts around 20-25 minutes.

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After Your Scan

Our reading physicians have extensive training in functional brain imaging and are specifically trained to read SPECT brain images. Our team of reading doctors includes neuroradiologists . SPECT imaging reports are delivered to you and your referring physician.

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