UNLABELLED: Integrated scanners capable of simultaneous positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data acquisition are now available for human use. Although the scanners' manufacturers have made substantial efforts to understand and minimize the mutual electromagnetic interference between the 2 modalities, the potential physiological inference has not been evaluated. In this study, we have studied the influence of the acoustic noise produced by the magnetic resonance (MR) gradients on brain fludeoxyglucose (FDG) uptake in the Siemens MR-BrainPET prototype. Although particular attention was paid to the primary auditory cortex (PAC), a brain-wide analysis was also performed.
METHODS: The effects of the MR on the PET count rate and image quantification were first investigated in phantoms. Next, 10 healthy volunteers underwent 2 simultaneous FDG-PET/MR scans in the supine position with the FDG injection occurring inside the MR-BrainPET, alternating between a "quiet" (control) environment in which no MR sequences were run during the FDG uptake phase (the first 40 minutes after radiotracer administration) and a "noisy" (test) environment in which MR sequences were run for the entire time. Cortical and subcortical regions of interest were derived from the high-resolution morphological MR data using FreeSurfer. The changes in the FDG uptake in the FreeSurfer-derived regions of interest between the 2 conditions were analyzed from parametric and static PET images, and on a voxel-by-voxel basis using SPM8 and FreeSurfer.
RESULTS: Only minimal to no electromagnetic interference was observed for most of the MR sequences tested, with a maximum drop in count rate of 1.5% and a maximum change in the measured activity of 1.1% in the corresponding images. The region of interest-based analysis showed statistically significant increases in the right PAC in both the parametric (9.13% [4.73%]) and static (4.18% [2.87%]) images. The SPM8 analysis showed no statistically significant clusters in any images when a P CONCLUSIONS: Although the operation of the BrainPET prototype is virtually unaffected by the MR scanner, the acoustic noise produced by the MR gradients causes a focal increase in the FDG uptake in the PAC, which could affect the interpretation of pathological (or brain-activation-related) changes in the FDG uptake in this region if the expected effects are of comparable amplitude.