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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2000 May;904:134-9.

Assessment of background hydrogen by the Monte Carlo computer code MCNP-4A during measurements of total body nitrogen.

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  • 1Department of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering, Singleton Hospital, Swansea, United Kingdom.


The use of a hydrogen internal standard to enable the estimation of absolute mass during measurement of total body nitrogen by in vivo neutron activation is an established technique. Central to the technique is a determination of the H prompt gamma ray counts arising from the subject. In practice, interference counts from other sources--e.g., neutron shielding--are included. This study reports use of the Monte Carlo computer code, MCNP-4A, to investigate the interference counts arising from shielding both with and without a phantom containing a urea solution. Over a range of phantom size (depth 5 to 30 cm, width 20 to 40 cm), the counts arising from shielding increased by between 4% and 32% compared with the counts without a phantom. For any given depth, the counts increased approximately linearly with width. For any given width, there was little increase for depths exceeding 15 centimeters. The shielding counts comprised between 15% and 26% of those arising from the urea phantom. These results, although specific to the Swansea apparatus, suggest that extraneous hydrogen counts can be considerable and depend strongly on the subject's size.

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