Skip to Main Content
Positron emission tomography (PET) of the cerebral glucose metabolism has shown to be useful in the presurgical evaluation of patients with epilepsy. Between seizures, PET images using fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) show a decreased glucose metabolism in areas of the gray matter (GM) tissue that are associated with the epileptogenic region. However, detection of subtle hypo-metabolic regions is limited by noise in the projection data and the relatively small thickness of the GM tissue compared to the spatial resolution of the PET system. Therefore, we present an iterative maximum-a-posteriori based reconstruction algorithm, dedicated to the detection of hypo-metabolic regions in FDG-PET images of the brain of epilepsy patients. Anatomical information, derived from magnetic resonance imaging data, and pathophysiological knowledge was included in the reconstruction algorithm. Two Monte Carlo based brain software phantom experiments were used to examine the performance of the algorithm. In the first experiment, we used perfect, and in the second, imperfect anatomical knowledge during the reconstruction process. In both experiments, we measured signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), root mean squared (rms) bias and rms standard deviation. For both experiments, bias was reduced at matched noise levels, when compared to post-smoothed maximum-likelihood expectation-maximization (ML-EM) and maximum a posteriori reconstruction without anatomical priors. The SNR was similar to that of ML-EM with optimal post-smoothing, although the parameters of the prior distributions were not optimized. We can conclude that the use of anatomical information combined with prior information about the underlying pathology is very promising for the detection of subtle hypo-metabolic regions in the brain of patients with epilepsy.