The success of the 15O-water PET technique to localize statistically significant changes in regional cerebral blood flow is dependent on factors such as the activity level injected and the magnitude of the flow change. Undetectable changes may occur if insufficient activity is injected leading to high levels of statistical noise or the task performed results in only small changes in blood flow. To explore the relationship between injected activity and statistical significance, we performed a series of studies with the ECAT EXACT HR+, a high resolution PET tomograph. A parametric verbal working memory task (the N-back task) was selected to examine the relationship between regional cerebral blood flow and working memory load across a range of injected doses of 15O-water. At each activity level the volunteers were required to perform four different levels of the N-back task, a task in which a letter displayed on a monitor is matched with the letter displayed N letters previously. With increasing N, this task places increased load on working memory. For this study, 5, 10, and 15 mCi of 15O-water were injected into nine normal volunteers. The complete sequence of four tasks (N = 0, 1, 2, and 3) at three activity levels was repeated twice, for a total of 24 injections of 15O-water. We show that the peak count rate performance for the HR+ is approached at injected activity levels of 15O-water around 15 mCi. For this particular choice of N-back task, robust activation maps can nevertheless be obtained with as little as 5 mCi injected dose.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience