By monitoring the gamma radiation resulting from the decay of carbon-11, the uptake and retention of carbon-11 choline in different parts of the body can be measured.One of the first uses of carbon-11 choline in PET imaging was with Alzheimer's disease patients.
The US Institute of Medicine (IOM) notes that these figures are based on just one study and that there was little data and the choline made by the body (assuming a dietary intake of zero) may be enough for some groups. For choline, as shown in Reference Daily Intake, 100% of the Daily Value is 550 mg.
In the United States, a recently published government survey on food consumption reported that for men and women ages 20 and older the average choline intakes were, respectively, 402 and 278 mg/day.
Some animals cannot produce choline, but must consume it through their diet to remain healthy. Whether dietary or supplemental choline is beneficial or harmful to humans has not been determined.
Possible benefits include reducing the risk of neural tube defects and fatty liver disease.
It was found that these brain tumors had over 10x the uptake of carbon-11 choline than the surrounding brain tissue.