A Nobel prize in imaging?

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Thomson Reuters has announced their prediction for the 2009 Nobel prize. Among them is Seiji Ogawa. He is indeed a good guess as the pioneer for functional magnetic resonance imaging, that is now much used in cognitive neuroscience. Ogawa was not the first how did functional neuroimaging. Niels A. Lassen and David Ingvar were quite earlier – almost too earlier for their technique to have impact on other laboratories. Much of initial functional imaging (some 10-15 years) was performed with positron emission tomography (PET). Whereas there have been Nobel Prizes for MRI and CT scanning, there haven’t – as far as I recall – been a Nobel Prize for PET – or SPECT for that matter. Another development that could deserve recognition is Fludeoxyglucose (FDG). Whereas fMRI is still a bit of a toy for scientists the combination of PET and FDG is dead serious forming the work horse for advanced cancer imaging. I am not too much into the history of FDG but Alfred P. Wolf and Louis Sokoloff seem to have been important contributors. For PET David Kuhl and Michael Phelps are often mentioned. Since PET predates fMRI and PET is used much in oncology – not just cognitive neuroscience – it might be that the Nobel goes to PET instead of fMRI, – if a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded for imaging at all.


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