Skip Navigation

Link to  the National Institutes of Health  
The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction from the National Institute on Drug Abuse Archives of the National Institute on Drug Abuse web site
Go to the Home page

National Institute on Drug Abuse -  NIDA NOTES
Special Report: Brain Imaging Research
Volume 11, Number 5
November/December 1996

New Imaging Center Enhances NIDA's Brain Research

By Neil Swan, NIDA NOTES Staff Writer

NIDA's new Brain Imaging Center, featuring a state-of-the-art positron emission tomography (PET) scanner and a nuclear cyclotron for preparing radioactive tracers used in human brain imaging research, was dedicated in December of 1996 at the Division of Intramural Research's (DIR) Addiction Research Center in Baltimore. The facility is the first brain imaging center dedicated to drug abuse research.


A research subject is positioned to enter NIDA's new state-of-the-art PET scanner, used in these studies to detect and create images of brain areas of increased glucose metabolism. Nurse Nelda Snidow draws blood samples to monitor radioactivity levels.

The scanner, the cyclotron, and a radiochemistry laboratory are the key components of the imaging center, which is funded in part by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). General Barry R. McCaffrey, director of the ONDCP, attended dedication ceremonies for the center along with Dr. Harold Varmus, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); Dr. Ruth L. Kirschstein, deputy director of NIH; NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner; Dr. Barry J. Hoffer, director of NIDA's Division of Intramural Research, and Center Director Dr. Edythe D. London.

Individually tailored masks are worn by research subjects in the PET scanner. Dotted lines aid the technicians in precisely positioning the subject's head inside the 360-degree core of the imager.

Dr. London is a pharmacologist who has conducted innovative PET scan drug abuse research, including mapping human brain areas involved in cocaine-induced euphoria. Much of her earlier work used an older model PET scanner at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The Brain Imaging Center's scientific facility and staff will be available to DIR scientists as well as to extramural researchers.

The scanner can accurately depict images of physiological features and activities with a resolution as small as 4 millimeters, which is smaller than the size of a pea. A

From NIDA NOTES, November/December, 1996

[Home Page][NIDA NOTES Index][1996 Archive Index Index]

Archive Home | Accessibility | Privacy | FOIA (NIH) | Current NIDA Home Page
National Institutes of Health logo_Department of Health and Human Services Logo The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) , a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Questions? See our Contact Information. . The U.S. government's official web portal