Source: Image created by Y Chemli et al., Gordon Center for Medical Imaging: Department of Radiology Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
Reston, VA (Embargoed until 5:00 p.m. EDT, Sunday, June 13, 2021) – A new imaging method has the potential to detect neurological diseases – such as Alzheimer’s disease – at their earliest stages and enable doctors to Better diagnose patients and treat them quickly. The imaging method known as super-resolution combines position emission tomography (PET) with an external motion tracking device to create highly detailed images of the brain. This research was presented at the Society for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging at the 2021 annual virtual meeting.
In PET imaging of the brain, the quality of the images is often limited by unwanted movements of the patient during the scan. In this study, the researchers used super-resolution to take advantage of the typically unwanted head movement of subjects to improve the resolution of brain PET.
Experiments with moving phantoms and non-human primates were performed on a PET scanner in conjunction with an external motion tracking device that continuously measured head movement with extremely high precision. Static reference PET recordings were also performed without inducing movement. After combining the data from the imaging devices, the researchers restored PET images with a significantly higher resolution than was achieved with the static reference scans.
“This work shows that PET images can be obtained at a resolution that exceeds the resolution of the scanner by using, perhaps counterintuitively, the patient’s normally unwanted movement,” said Yanis Chemli, MSc, PhD, candidate at the Gordon Center for Medical Imaging in Boston, Massachusetts. “Our technology not only compensates for the negative effects of head movement on PET image quality, but also uses the increased scan information associated with imaging moving targets to improve effective PET resolution.”
While this super-resolution technique has only been tested in preclinical studies, researchers are currently working to extend it to humans. Looking ahead, Chemli noted the important effects superresolution can have on brain diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s disease. “Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the presence of balls of tau protein. In Alzheimer’s disease, these clumps begin to accumulate very early – sometimes decades before symptoms appear – in very small regions of the brain. The better we can map these small structures in the brain, the sooner we can diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and possibly treat it in the future, ”he said.
Abstract 34. “Super-Resolution in Brain PET Using a Real Time Motion Capture System,” Yanis Chemli, LTCI, Telecom Paris, Institut Polytechnique de Paris, Paris, France, and Gordon Center for Medical Imaging, Boston, Massachusetts; Marc-Andre Tetrault, Computer Technology, Universite de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada; Marc Normandin, Georges El Fakhri, Jinsong Ouyang, and Yoann Petibonn, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; and Isabelle Bloch, Sorbonne Universite, CNRS, LIP6, Paris, France, and LTCI, Telecom Paris, Institut Polytechnique de Paris, Paris, France.
All abstracts of the SNMMI annual conference 2021 can be found online at https: /
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