A miniaturised scanner that can peer into the brains of freely-roaming rats has been demonstrated by researchers.

Their wearable “Ratcap” does positron emission tomography – an established technique that tracks the movement and change of an injected molecule.

Typically these scans must be done on anaesthetised rats in a fixed scanner.

The device, Nature Methods, will allow researchers to study them in detail as they move, acquiring both chemical and behavioural information.

Positron emission tomography, or PET, measures the brief flashes of high-energy light that result from the radioactive decay of a “tracer” molecule.

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