Early detection of amyloid plaque in Alzheimer's disease via x-ray phase CT

Recently, the grating-based differential phase contrast CT (DPC-CT, see Fig. 1 for a prototype in the lab) has emerged as a new technology to improve CT’s low contrast detectability over soft tissues. This project is to develop an x-ray tube and grating-based high spatial resolution phase CT for direct imaging of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease. Potentially, this research may enable three-dimensional (3D) visualization of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s brain for early diagnosis and therapeutic assessment. Two observations from the imaging science point of view have been made so far in our lab: (1) the noise power spectrum (NPS) of DPC-CT is fundamentally different from that of the conventional CT (Fig. 2); (2) the role played by internal noise in modeling human observers’ physio-psychological behavior is significantly different between the DPC-CT and conventional CT. Both observations are important, and the first one would be a milestone in the understanding of DPC-CT science and technologies. The outcome of this project will be evaluated with specimens of post-mortem Alzheimer brain (Fig. 3) through collaboration with scientists at Emory’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

Funding Agency: DoD CDMRP

Grant Type: W81XWH-12-10138

Funding Period: 05/15/12-05/14/15

Figure 1

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 3