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Open Access Research article

Use of fuzzy edge single-photon emission computed tomography analysis in definite Alzheimer's disease - a retrospective study

Robert Rusina1*, Jaromír Kukal2, Tomáš Bělíček2, Marie Buncová3 and Radoslav Matěj4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, Thomayer Teaching Hospital and Institute for Postgraduate Education in Medicine, Prague, Czech Republic

2 Department of Software Engineering in Economy, Faculty of Nuclear Science and Physical Engineering, Czech Technical University, Prague, Czech Republic

3 Department of Nuclear Medicine, Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Prague, Czech Republic

4 Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Thomayer Teaching Hospital, Prague, Czech Republic

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BMC Medical Imaging 2010, 10:20  doi:10.1186/1471-2342-10-20

Published: 1 September 2010



Definite Alzheimer's disease (AD) requires neuropathological confirmation. Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) may enhance diagnostic accuracy, but due to restricted sensitivity and specificity, the role of SPECT is largely limited with regard to this purpose.


We propose a new method of SPECT data analysis. The method is based on a combination of parietal lobe selection (as regions-of-interest (ROI)), 3D fuzzy edge detection, and 3D watershed transformation. We applied the algorithm to three-dimensional SPECT images of human brains and compared the number of watershed regions inside the ROI between AD patients and controls. The Student's two-sample t-test was used for testing domain number equity in both groups.


AD patients had a significantly reduced number of watershed regions compared to controls (p < 0.01). A sensitivity of 94.1% and specificity of 80% was obtained with a threshold value of 57.11 for the watershed domain number. The narrowing of the SPECT analysis to parietal regions leads to a substantial increase in both sensitivity and specificity.


Our non-invasive, relatively low-cost, and easy method can contribute to a more precise diagnosis of AD.