We consider PET (positron emission tomography) measurement with SPM (Statistical Parametric Mapping) analysis to be one of the most useful methods to identify activated areas of the brain involved in language processing. SPM is an effective analytical method that detects markedly activated areas over the whole brain. However, with the conventional presentations of these functional brain images, such as horizontal slices, three directional projection, or brain surface coloring, makes understanding and interpreting the positional relationships among various brain areas difficult. Therefore, we developed three-dimensionally reconstructed images from these functional brain images to improve the interpretation. The subjects were 12 normal volunteers. The following three types of images were constructed: 1) routine images by SPM, 2) three-dimensional static images, and 3) three-dimensional dynamic images, after PET images were analyzed by SPM during daily dialog listening. The creation of images of both the three-dimensional static and dynamic types employed the volume rendering method by VTK (The Visualization Toolkit). Since the functional brain images did not include original brain images, we synthesized SPM and MRI brain images by self-made C++ programs. The three-dimensional dynamic images were made by sequencing static images with available software. Images of both the three-dimensional static and dynamic types were processed by a personal computer system. Our newly created images showed clearer positional relationships among activated brain areas compared to the conventional method. To date, functional brain images have been employed in fields such as neurology or neurosurgery, however, these images may be useful even in the field of otorhinolaryngology, to assess hearing and speech. Exact three-dimensional images based on functional brain images are important for exact and intuitive interpretation, and may lead to new developments in brain science. Currently, the surface model is the most common method of three-dimensional display. However, the volume rendering method may be more effective for imaging regions such as the brain.
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