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Effects of point spread function correction and time-of-flight on visual contrast level and pixel values in brain PET images.

OBJECTIVES: Point spread function (PSF) correction and time-of-flight (TOF) can improve the quality of PET images. None have directly assessed the visual effects of these methods in brain PET images and evaluated the image quality from these methods based on the relationship between the number of updates and noise level. The present study aimed to clarify the effects of PSF and TOF on the visual contrast level and pixel values of brain PET images using an experimental phantom.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The visual contrast level was evaluated based on the sum of edge strengths. In addition, the effects of PSF, TOF, and a combination of them on pixel values were evaluated after anatomical standardization of brain images, in which the whole brain was divided into 18 segments. These were evaluated using images reconstructed with the number of updates set to achieve the same noise level.

RESULTS: Combined application of the point spread function and TOF resulted in the greatest increase in the sum of edge strengths (32%), followed by PSF (21%) and TOF (6%). The maximum increase in pixel values occurred in the thalamic area (17%).

CONCLUSION: Although PSF and TOF can increase the visual contrast level by increasing the sum of edge strengths, they may affect the results of software-based analysis using pixel values. Nonetheless, using these methods may improve the ability to visualize areas of hypoaccumulation, such as epileptic foci.

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