Professor Wayne Drevets explains that computed tomography (CT) can still be used clinically. As a research tool however, it does not have the requisite tissue or spatial resolution.
Computed tomography was one of the first methods that radiologists had to look at the body in a non-invasive way. We still use computed tomography to look at some structures in the body. It can also be used to find areas where thereâ€™s been a recent bleeding in the body. For example in the setting of someone thatâ€™s having a stroke and you donâ€™t know if theyâ€™ve had a bleed into the brain or a clot instead, CT scanning can be an important tool in resolving that kind of medical distinction that would affect how you treat the patient. In terms of looking at brain structure, CT scanning does not have the spatial resolution and tissue contrast resolution thatâ€™s really needed for neuroscience. Tissue contrast means how well can you tell grey matter, the part of the brain where the cells are located, from white matter, the part of the brain where the fibrous connections going between cells are located, and how well can you see little structures like the amygdala or the hippocampus. MRI has terrific spatial resolution and can get almost to the spatial resolution of what you could see in a brain tissue looking at it grossly; whereas CT scanning has relatively low resolution and so you canâ€™t see individual structures so well.
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