Radiotracers offer unique options for brain imaging of functional and molecular processes related to hearing. Such imaging can be applied in a broad spectrum of situations from preclinical research to clinical patient care. Functional imaging to assess activation in brain regions and networks involved in auditory processing uses markers of blood flow or energy-metabolism in well-defined conditions with and without auditory stimulation. Molecular markers can be used in hearing research for example to study changes in inhibitory neurotransmission systems related to hearing loss. For imaging either positron emission tomography (PET) or single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) are employed. Data analysis can encompasses voxel-wise statistical analysis of activation and calculation of quantitative parameters like receptor binding-potentials based on bio-kinetic modeling. Functional imaging has been frequently used in the context of auditory implantation. Before implantation it aims to assess intactness of the central auditory pathway and prognosis. After implantation it is used to improve understanding of the outcome with respect to auditory function and finally speech understanding, e.g. by measuring correlates of central auditory processing and neuroplasticity.
©2017 Georg Berding et al., published by De Gruyter
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.