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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1988 Oct;8(5):642-53.

Enhanced detection of focal brain responses using intersubject averaging and change-distribution analysis of subtracted PET images.

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  • 1Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri.


Intersubject averaging and change-distribution analysis of subtracted positron emission tomographic (PET) images were developed and tested. The purpose of these techniques is to increase the sensitivity and objectivity of functional mapping of the human brain with PET. To permit image averaging, all primary tomographic images were converted to anatomically standardized three-dimensional images using stereotactic anatomical localization and interslice interpolation. Image noise, measured in control-minus-control subtractions, was strongly suppressed by averaging. Signal-to-noise ratio, measured in stimulus-minus-control subtractions (hand vibration minus eyes-closed rest), rose steadily with averaging, confirming the accuracy of our method of anatomical standardization. Distribution analysis of CBF change images (outlier detection by gamma-2 statistic) was assessed as an omnibus test for state-dependent changes in regional neuronal activity. Sensitivity in detecting the somatosensory response rose steadily with averaging, increasing from 50% in individual images to 100% when three or more images were averaged. Specificity was 100% at all averaging levels. Although described here as a technique for functional brain mapping with H2(15O) CBF images, image averaging, and change-distribution analysis are more generally applicable techniques, not limited to a single purpose or tracer.

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