Enhanced detection of focal brain responses using intersubject averaging and change-distribution analysis of subtracted PET images

P. T. Fox, M. A. Mintun, E. M. Reiman, M. E. Raichle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

384 Scopus citations


Intersubject averaging and change-distribution analysis of subtracted positron emission tomographic (PET) images were developed and tested. The purpose of these techniques is to increase the sensitivity and objectivity of functional mapping of the human brain with PET. To permit image averaging, all primary tomographic images were converted to anatomically standardized three-dimensional images using stereotactic anatomical localization and interslice interpolation. Image noise, measured in control-minus-control subtractions, was strongly suppressed by averaging. Signal-to-noise ratio, measured in stimulus-minus-control substractions (hand vibration minus eyes-closed rest), rose steadily with averaging, confirming the accuracy of our method of anatomical standardization. Distribution analysis of CBF change images (outlier detection by gamma-2 statistic) was assessed as an omnibus test for state-dependent changes in regional neuronal activity. Sensitivity in detecting the somatosensory response rose steadily with averaging, increasing from 50% in individual images to 100% when three or more images were averaged. Specificity was 100% at all averaging levels. Although described here as a technique for functional brain mapping with H215O CBF images, image averaging, and change-distribution analysis are more generally applicable techniques, not limited to a single purpose or tracer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-653
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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