Implementation and verification of a quantitative MRI method for creating and evaluating synthetic MR images
Abstract: The purpose of this thesis was to implement and quantitatively test a quantitative MRI (qMRI) method, from which synthetic MR images are created and also evaluated. The parameter maps of T1, T2', and effective proton density (PD') were tested with reference tubes containing different relaxation times, and concentrations of water (H2O) and heavy water (D2O). Two normal volunteers were also used to test qMRI method, by performing regional analysis on the parameter maps of the volunteers. The synthetic FLASH MR images were evaluated by: using the relative standard deviation of a region of interest (ROI) as a measure for the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), implanting artificial multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions in the parameter maps used to create the synthetic images, and an MRI radiologist opinion of the images. All MRI measurements were conducted on a 3.0 Tesla scanner (Siemens MAGNETOM Skyrafit). The results from reference tube testing, shows that the implementation was reasonably successful, although the T2' maps can not display values on voxels which have T2 exceeding 100 ms. In vivo parameter map ROI values were consistent between volunteers. The SNR and contrast-to-noise ratio of synthetic images are comparable to their measured counterparts depending on TE. The artificial MS lesions were distinguishable from normal appearing tissue in a T1-weighted synthetic FLASH. The radiologist thought the a synthetic T2'-weighted FLASH was somewhat promising for clinical use after further research and development, however a synthetic T1-weighted FLASH had clinical value.
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