Nuclear medicine physics
Impact of extraneous mispositioned events on motion-corrected brain SPECT images of freely moving animals
Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) brain imaging of freely moving small animals would allow a wide range of important neurological processes and behaviors to be studied, which are normally inhibited by anesthetic drugs or precluded due to the animal being restrained. While rigid body motion of the head can be tracked and accounted for in the reconstruction, activity in the torso may confound brain measurements, especially since motion of the torso is more complex (i.e., nonrigid) and not well correlated with that of the head. The authors investigated the impact of mispositioned events and attenuation due to the torso on the accuracy of motion corrected brain images of freely moving mice.
Monte Carlo simulations of a realistic voxelized mouse phantom and a dual compartment phantom were performed. Each phantom comprised a target and an extraneous compartment which were able to move independently of each other. Motion correction was performed based on the known motion of the target compartment only. Two SPECT camera geometries were investigated: a rotating single head detector and a stationary full ring detector. The effects of motion, detector geometry, and energy of the emitted photons (hence, attenuation) on bias and noise in reconstructed brain regions were evaluated.
The authors observed two main sources of bias: (a) motion-related inconsistencies in the projection data and (b) the mismatch between attenuation and emission. Both effects are caused by the assumption that the orientation of the torso is difficult to track and model, and therefore cannot be conveniently corrected for. The motion induced bias in some regions was up to 12% when no attenuation effects were considered, while it reached 40% when also combined with attenuation related inconsistencies. The detector geometry (i.e., rotating vs full ring) has a big impact on the accuracy of the reconstructed images, with the full ring detector being more advantageous.
Motion-induced inconsistencies in the projection data and attenuation/emission mismatch are the two main causes of bias in reconstructed brain images when there is complex motion. It appears that these two factors have a synergistic effect on the qualitative and quantitative accuracy of the reconstructed images.