Blood Flow PET Studies

Blood flow studies use H215O to measure changes in local brain blood flow (Herscovitch et al. 1983; Mintun et al. 1984). As noted earlier, blood flow is an indirect measure of local synaptic activity. Because 15O has a short half-life (2 minutes), several administrations can be performed in one session. A typical H215O study would have 8-16 injections and scans for each subject. The experimental design would manipulate the task that the subject performs during each scan. Each scan lasts about 1 minute, with 8-10 minutes between scans (5 half-lives). H215O studies not only allow for multiple conditions to be studied, but they also allow for the repetition of conditions, increasing statistical power. The main disadvantage is that because of the short half-life, the H215O must be produced reliably and in close proximity to the scanner.

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