A note on the stereological implications of irregular spacing of sections


Prof. A. Baddeley, School of Mathematics & Statistics, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Nedlands WA 6009, Australia. Tel: +61 8 6488 3375; fax: +61 8 6488 1028; e-mail: adrian@maths.uwa.edu.au


Stereological methods for serial sections traditionally assume that the sections are exactly equally spaced. In reality, the spacing and thickness of sections can be quite irregular. This may affect the validity and accuracy of stereological techniques, especially the Cavalieri estimator of volume. We present a new formula for the accuracy of the Cavalieri estimator that includes the effect of random variability in section spacing. A modest amount of variability in section spacing can cause a substantial increase in estimator variance.