College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine

Brain scanner to aid dementia research

Edinburgh is to install an MRI-PET scanner as part of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Dementias Platform UK.

The new equipment - the first of its kind in Scotland - will give scientists the clearest picture yet of what goes wrong in the brain when dementia occurs.

New treatments

The advanced technology will enable researchers to look in detail at what is going on inside patients’ brains. It will also help doctors to identify patients who are most likely to benefit from new therapies, and to monitor the effects of their treatment.

The MRI-PET scanner will complement existing facilities at the University of Edinburgh, which are helping research across the spectrum of human health from pregnancy to aging.

Professor Edwin van BeekCo-Director, Clinical Research Imaging Centre

High resolution

The system combines Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans with Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging to produce high-resolution pictures of the tissue of the brain.

It will allow researchers to track the movement of individual molecules within the brain’s cells.

Other organs of the body can also be studied with the device, enabling insights into diseases of the heart, blood vessels, lung and various types of cancer.

Dementias Platform UK

There are currently only two MRI-PET scanners in the UK. The Edinburgh scanner is one of five to be installed at universities around the UK as part of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Dementias Platform UK, taking the total to seven.

The investment will create the first nationally co-ordinated MRI-PET network anywhere in the world.

Edinburgh Imaging

The scanner will be housed by the Clinical Research Imaging Centre at the University of Edinburgh.

Related Links

Edinburgh Imaging

Dementias Platform UK