Medical imaging refers to the techniques and processes used to create images of the human body (or parts thereof) for clinical purposes (medical procedures seeking to reveal, diagnose or examine disease) or medical science (including the study of normal anatomy and physiology).
Image courtesy of Super Dave Chen
Computed tomography (CT Scan) is a medical imaging method employing digital geometry processing to generate a three-dimensional image of the inside of an object from a large series of two-dimensional X-ray images.
Image from wikipedia
PET (Positron Emission Tomography), is an imaging procedure that is both a medical and a research tool. It is used in imaging of tumors and for clinical study of the brain. PET combined with CT (Computer Tomography), provide both anatomic and metabolic information (i.e., what the structure is and what it is doing).
Before I looked into PET scans, I thought that positrons were purely science fiction. Turns out that positrons are for real and were discovered way back in 1932. I really should get out more.
Animation by Jens Langner
Image courtesy of National Library of Medicine
As the name implies, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnetic field to visualize the structure and function of the body. Functional MRI or fMRI is a type of specialized MRI scan that measures the neural activity in the brain or spinal cord.
The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory web site offers the best (for me, that means short and easy), introduction to MRI in their article - MRI: A Guided Tour
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