2007 Image of the Year: Molecular imaging relates human brain chemistry to aggressive behavior

WASHINGTON, D.C.Whenever there is a publicized case of violent behavior, people ask the question, Why" An imagedescribing scientific investigation into the relationship between an individuals brain chemistry and his report about his behavior toward othershas been selected as the 2007 Image of the Year at SNMs 54th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The image was chosen from thousands presented at the Annual Meeting, hosted by SNM, the worlds largest society for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine professionals.

One of the major scientific contributions of molecular imaging is its ability to relate human brain chemistry and behavior, said Henry N. Wagner Jr., SNM past president and historian, who announced the Image of the Year at the societys press conference on June 4. Scientists from Brookhaven National Laboratory have shown a statistical relationship between brain levels of the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO) A and the quantitative assessment of their human subjects personality. Researchers used the Tellegen and Waller Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire to measure the volunteers personality traits and the tracer C-11 clorgyline to measure enzymatic brain MAO A activity, explained Wagner. Of 240 questions, only those about having a short temper, vindictiveness and enjoying violent movies were related to MAO A, said Wagner, who for 30 years has summarized current trends in molecular imaging and nuclear medicine and the meetings significant findings and annually selects an Image of the Year. Many similar studies are likely to follow, added the professor of environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md.

The Image of the Yearcorroborating the relevance of brain enzyme MAO A in aggressive personalityis actually a series of four images: one providing a view of human genes with high and low concentrations of MAO A; one of a brain positron emission tomography (PET) scan showing brain MAO A activity; and two ima

Contact: Maryann Verrillo
Society of Nuclear Medicine

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