Positron emission tomography (PET) technology offers clinical researchers the opportunity to gain unprecedented understanding of the neurobiologic correlates of pediatric illness. In contrast to other forms of functional neuroimaging, PET provides direct information on neurochemical activity, such as neurotransmitter function in the human brain (1). Such data may prove invaluable to the understanding of brain maturation and the development of novel pharmacologic treatments for children. However, because PET is a radionuclear medicine technique and children are classified as a vulnerable population requiring special safeguards, PET utilization in pediatric research is controversial. The involvement of healthy children in PET research is an especially contentious issue, and to date fewer than a dozen such studies have been conducted in the United States.
ASJC Scopus subject areas