Feasibility of in vivo SAXS imaging for detection of Alzheimer's disease
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Small-angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) imaging has been proposed as a technique to characterize and selectively image structures based on electron density structure which allows for discriminating materials based on their scatter cross sections. This dissertation explores the feasibility of SAXS imaging for the detection of Alzheimer's disease (AD) amyloid plaques. The inherent scatter cross sections of amyloid plaque serve as biomarkers in vivo without the need of injected molecular tags. SAXS imaging can also assist in a better understanding of how these biomarkers play a role in Alzheimer’s disease which in turn can lead to the development of more effective disease-modifying therapies. I implement simulations of x-ray transport using Monte Carlo methods for SAXS imaging enabling accurate calculation of radiation dose and image quality in SAXS-computed tomography (CT). I describe SAXS imaging phantoms with tissue-mimicking material and embedded scatter targets as a way of demonstrating the characteristics of SAXS imaging. I also performed a comprehensive study of scattering cross sections of brain tissue from measurements of ex-vivo sections of a wild-type mouse brain and reported generalized cross sections of gray matter, white matter, and corpus callosum obtained and registered by planar SAXS imaging. Finally, I demonstrate the ability of SAXS imaging to locate an amyloid fibril pellet within a brain section. This work contributes to novel application of SAXS imaging for Alzheimer's disease detection and studies its feasibility as an imaging tool for AD biomarkers.