Kenneth Marek, Danna Jennings, and John Seibyl
Department of Neurology, The Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A.
Neuroimaging has provided insight into the pathophysiology and natural history of Parkinson's disease (PD) and has emerged as a tool to monitor disease progression and to assess new potentially neuroprotective or neurorestorative therapies for PD. Diverse imaging methods have been successfully applied to neurological disorders. Although technology such as functional magnetic resonance imaging or magnetic resonance spectroscopy has been especially useful in assessing stroke, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy (1-3), in vivo neuroreceptor imaging using single photon emission tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomogrpahy (PET) have so far been most valuable in assessing PD. SPECT and PET use specific radioactively labeled lig-ands to neurochemically tag or mark normal or abnormal brain chemistry. Recent advances in radiopharmaceutical development, imaging detector technologies, and image analysis software have expanded and accelerated the role of imaging in clinical research in PD, in general, and neurotherapeutics, in particular. In this overview, we will focus on developments in neuroreceptor imaging in PD.
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