Positron emission tomography is a noninvasive tomographic technique for measuring regional tissue concentrations of labeled radionuclides in man. Detection of two photons emitted from the annihilation of a positron and an electron is used to reconstruct the distribution of a positron-emitting isotope within an organ. PET provides the capacity to measure quantitatively the local tissue distribution of a variety of radionuclides that are attached to compounds that distribute according to function. Commonly measured functions include local cerebral metabolism using 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose or 11C-deoxyglucose, cerebral blood flow, cerebral oxygen utilization, and cerebral blood volume. Clinical applications of PET are multiple, involving normal and disease states. By demonstrating the metabolic alterations, PET adds another dimension to our understanding of the brain, which up until recently has been based on the structural changes seen on CT and MRI.