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Low spatial resolution and the related partial volume effects limit the diagnostic potential of brain single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging. As a possible remedy for this problem we propose a technique for the fusion of SPECT and MR images, which requires for a given patient the SPECT data and the T1-weighted MR image. Basically, after the reconstruction and coregistration steps, the high-frequency part of the MR, which would be unrecoverable by the set SPECT acquisition system + reconstruction algorithm, is extracted and added to the SPECT image. The tuning of the weight of the MR on the resulting fused image can be performed very quickly, any iterative reconstruction algorithm can be used and, in the case that the SPECT projections are not available, the proposed technique can also be applied directly to the SPECT image, provided that the performance of the scanner is known. The procedure has the potential of increasing the diagnostic value of a SPECT image. Even in the locations of SPECT-MR mismatch it does not significantly affect quantitation over regions of interest (ROIs) whose dimensions are decidedly larger than the SPECT resolution distance. On the other hand, appreciable corrections for partial volume effects are expected in the locations where the contrast in the structural MR matches the corresponding contrast in functional activity.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2006