Artificial intelligence for molecular neuroimaging

Ann Transl Med. 2021 May;9(9):822. doi: 10.21037/atm-20-6220.


In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) or the study of how computers and machines can gain intelligence, has been increasingly applied to problems in medical imaging, and in particular to molecular imaging of the central nervous system. Many AI innovations in medical imaging include improving image quality, segmentation, and automating classification of disease. These advances have led to an increased availability of supportive AI tools to assist physicians in interpreting images and making decisions affecting patient care. This review focuses on the role of AI in molecular neuroimaging, primarily applied to positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). We emphasize technical innovations such as AI in computed tomography (CT) generation for the purposes of attenuation correction and disease localization, as well as applications in neuro-oncology and neurodegenerative diseases. Limitations and future prospects for AI in molecular brain imaging are also discussed. Just as new equipment such as SPECT and PET revolutionized the field of medical imaging a few decades ago, AI and its related technologies are now poised to bring on further disruptive changes. An understanding of these new technologies and how they work will help physicians adapt their practices and succeed with these new tools.

Keywords: Artificial intelligence (AI); machine learning (ML); medical imaging; neuroimaging.

Publication types

  • Review