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How Imaging Tests Help in Diagnosing Nervous System Disorders

How Imaging Tests Help in Diagnosing Nervous System Disorders

Test

Uses

To obtain detailed images of blood vessels of the brain, such as the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the brain (carotid and vertebral arteries)

To monitor the effects of radiation therapy on brain cancer or of antibiotics on a brain abscess

To obtain detailed images of blood vessels of the brain and identify clots in arteries in people who have had a stroke (CTA has largely replaced cerebral angiography)

To identify and evaluate narrowing or blockage of arteries in the neck and head and thus assess the risk of stroke

To identify structural abnormalities (such as abscesses, tumors, and hydrocephalus) in the brain (images of the brain tissue are clearer and more detailed than those provided by CT, but MRI may not be as readily available)

To evaluate arteries in people who have had a stroke or a transient ischemic attack or in people who may have an aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation (an abnormal connection between arteries and veins)

To detect a blood clot in veins of the brain (cerebral venous thrombosis) and to monitor how treatment affects this disorder

To identify which areas of the brain are active when a task (such as reading, writing, remembering, calculating, or moving a limb) is done

To estimate how much blood is flowing through a particular area of the brain

To distinguish between abscesses, tumors, and strokes

To evaluate blood flow and metabolic activity in the brain

Most often done in research studies