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Visualizing hormone actions in the brain.

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  • Biology
  • Medicine


Profound and multifaceted effects of hormones on the development, maturation and function of the CNS are well documented. Recent developments in magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) permit detailed in vivo studies of cerebral structure and function in humans. Techniques to measure subtle differences in cerebral structure, regional brain activation, changes in blood flow and other physiological biomarkers allow us to translate experimental evidence of hormone effects obtained from animal models to humans. Here we review the imaging techniques available to support studies of hormone effects on the CNS, emphasizing the recent developments of MRI. In summarizing the major current studies we discuss the potential of these techniques for an emerging new field in endocrinology.

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