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Tools for Brain Research

Imaging techniques and methods are now standard tools for modern brain research. Scientists use various tomographic methods such as MRI, f-MRI, PET, and MR-PET to examine the structure of the healthy and diseased brain and its metabolic processes in great detail and to make them visible. The aim is to understand the functions and processes in the human brain and thus to identify diseases at the earliest possible stage and to treat them successfully.

At Forschungszentrum Jülich, researchers have top-class instruments at their disposal, some of which were also designed at Jülich. Together with partners at universities and technology companies, Jülich researchers refine the methods on which such instruments are based, so that research groups at other institutions can also benefit from them.

Scientists at Jülich work with a hybrid scanner combining the two techniques of MRI and PET. A unique feature is the high field strength of the MRI scanner, which at 9.4 tesla is equal to 190,000 times the Earth's magnetic field. It is thus one of the most powerful instruments of its kind worldwide. While MRI differentiates between various types of tissue in the brain, PET makes the physiological and biochemical activities of the brain visible. Due to its specifications, the "9komma4" instrument delivers images of the human brain of previously unobtainable precision. Scientists are now able to simultaneously analyse the structure and metabolic processes of the brain down to the molecular level for the first time.

Another facility at Jülich dedicated to brain research is the PET Centre currently under construction. This is a cooperation platform with neighbouring universities combining Jülich's basic research with clinical applications and uniting the key competences of Forschungszentrum Jülich in the field of medical imaging with those of pharmaceutical radiochemistry.

Further information:

more on the 9,4-T-MR-PET

more on MRI

more on PET