Brain Scans and Application of Research to Brain Injury

Brain Scans and Application of Research to Brain Injury

How do PET and MRI work?

From much research, I have found that PET scanners work by detecting the radiation given off by a substance called a radiotracer as it collects in different parts of your body. In most PET scans a radiotracer called fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) is used, which is similar to naturally occurring glucose (a type of sugar) so your body treats it in a similar way. PET scans stands for positron emission tomography. The machine detects pairs of gamma rays that are emitted indirectly by a tracer (positron-emitting radionuclide), which is placed in the body on a biologically active molecule. The images are reconstructed by computer analysis(,2016).

Now we can discuss MRI, The human body is mostly water. Water molecules (H20) contain hydrogen nuclei (protons), which become aligned in a magnetic field. An MRI scanner applies a very strong magnetic field (about 0.2 to 3 teslas, or roughly a thousand times the strength of a typical fridge magnet), which aligns the proton “spins. Normally the water molecules in our bodies are randomly arranged, but upon entering an MRI scanner, the first magnet causes the body’s water molecules to align in one direction, either north or south.

The second magnetic field is then turned on and off in a series of quick pulses, causing each hydrogen atom to alter their alignment and then quickly switch back to their original relaxed state when switched off. This creates a knocking sound inside the scanner and is a result of the gradient coils being switched on and off. When electricity is passed through the coil, a magnetic field is created and the coil vibrates, which accounts for the noise you hear. Although the patient cannot feel these changes, the scanner can detect them, and in conjunction with a computer, can create a detailed cross-sectional image for the radiologist.

If you were showing a person words while having an MRI, what brain areas would probably be active?

I would think that because the left temporal lobe is responsible for verbal memory, it would be visibly active in an MRI image if the subject were being shown words during the procedure.

If a brain injury victim is unable to move the right arm, in which area of the brain would an MRI scan most likely reveal damage?

From just learning much of the how the MRI work on injured individuals, I would have to say that If a brain injury victim is unable to move the right arm, the area of the brain that an MRI scan would determine most of the damage to amount on the left side. Depending on the part of the brain affected, the defect in the brain is usually on the opposite side of the body.

What kind of scan do you think would be best in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease?

When it comes to this type of disease, I would have to say that PET scan would be the most appropriate.

How do the research tools (equipment and methodology) available today contribute to a greater understanding of “conscious processes and immediate experience” than was possible using trained introspection and structuralism?

I think it helps out a great deal. I think that the improvements will find ways to come up with cures faster. I all things much research is needed to truly understand and find ways to prevent disease. No matter what, as time progress things are only bound to get better to secure a better future in medicine. I find with greater understanding means more lives that can be saved.


Define TBI for Allison.

Traumatic brain injury occurs when an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction.

Traumatic brain injury usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. An object penetrating the skull, such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull, also can cause traumatic brain injury.

Mild traumatic brain injury may cause temporary dysfunction of brain cells. More serious traumatic brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain that can result in long-term complications or death.

Describe any symptoms that Allison might experience.

Being that Alison has suffered such a traumatic experience it is possible that she may suffer from bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain that can result in long-term complications or death. I would also assume that one of the things that I know certain that affects individuals like this, from having a relative who served and he now suffers from TBI, the headaches are really bad often.

How do you think the army should deal with these injuries? For example, if Allison is not obviously physically impaired, should she be discharged and receive disability pay? Should she be redeployed? If Allison stays in the army, what kinds of jobs do you think she should not perform?   

This is a very hard question to answer, I find that every individual are different when it comes to injury and some recover better than others. However, I feel that something should be set in place that can cater to the injured if that individual is at a point in their life where it begins to affect them. I feel that the Alison should be checked every few weeks for changes and should be placed in a better job atmosphere and she should also be paid more to help with medical examinations. If she worsens, I feel then she should be on discharge and receive disability pay. I found from research that when suffered such a major injury as this, it is best to take on difficulty therapy which helps the individual recover and have higher hopes for the future. I do believe that this is something to consider. 



 CT Scan vs MRI. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2016, from 

 MRI: Get the Facts and Risks of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2016, from 

 Positron emission tomography (PET) scan. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2016, from 

Traumatic brain injury. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2016, from (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2016, from