Adaptive Neural Network for Nuclear Medicine Image Restoration

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A novel adaptive neural network is proposed for image restoration using a nuclear medicine gamma camera based on the point spread function of measured system. The objective is to restore image degradation due to photon scattering and collimator photon penetration with the gamma camera and allow improved quantitative external measurements of radionuclides in-vivo. The specific clinical model proposed is the imaging of bremsstrahlung radiation using 32P and 90Y because of the enhanced image degradation effects of photon scattering, photon penetration and poor signal/noise ratio in measurements of this type with the gamma camera. This algorithm model avoids the common inverse problem associated with other image restoration filters such as the Wiener filter. The relative performance of the adaptive NN for image restoration is compared to a previously reported order statistic neural network hybrid (OSNNH) filter by these investigators, a traditional Weiner filter and a modified Hopfield neural network using simulated degraded images with different noise levels. Quantitative metrics such as the change of signal to noise ratio (ΔSNR) are used to compare filter performance. The adaptive NN yields comparable results for image restoration with a slightly better performance for the images with higher noise level as often encountered in bremsstrahlung detection with the gamma camera. Experimental attenuation measurements were also performed in a water tank using two radionuclides, 32P and 90Y, typically used for antibody therapy. Similar values for an effective attenuation coefficient was observed for the restored images using the OSNNH filters and adaptive NN which demonstrate that the restoration filters preserves the total counts in the image as required for quantitative in-vivo measurements. The adaptive NN was computationally more efficient by a factor 4–6 compared to the OSNNH filter. The filter architecture, in turn, is also optimum for parallel processing or VLSI implementation as required for planar and particularly for tomographic mode of detection using the gamma camera. The proposed adaptive NN method should also prove to be useful for quantitative imaging of single photon emitters for other nuclear medicine tomographic imaging applications using positron emitters and direct X-ray photon detection.

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