YAZOKAZU LUCAS YAMAMOTO, MD, PhD (1928-2003)|
Neurosurgeon, Nuclear Physician and Scientist
Cone Laboratory for Neurosurgical Research,
Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill Uinversity
Lucas Yamamoto was internationally recognized for his research in nuclear
medicine and in the pathophysiology of brain disorders. It was one of nature's
ironies that Lucas passed away on September 18, 2003 from a stroke, the very
ailment he had researched for more than three decades.
Canada's First PET Unit
So in 1961 Lucas came to the MNI where his training in nuclear medicine and neuro-surgery added great strength to the program already under way in the Cone Laboratory for Neurosurgical Research, utilizing an upgraded model of the MNI's Saskatoon Contour Automatic Neuroisotope Scanner (SCANS). This radioactive system eventually led to the development of PET at the MNI. Lucas was one of the few experts around at that time in neuroisotopes. Continuing summer stints at Brookhaven, he helped to develop the first cerebral blood flow studies by positron emitters using an instrument of 32 sodium iodide detectors (1967), a system later transferred on loan from the US government to the MNI. With the help of the physicists and engineers at McGill, this equipment was modified to produce in 1975 the first tomographic PET scans of a glioma and an infarct.