PMID: 7089054May 1, 1982

Total body neutron activation analysis of calcium: calibration and normalisation

Physics in Medicine and Biology
N S KennedyP Tothill


An irradiation system has been designed, using a neutron beam from a cyclotron, which optimises the uniformity of activation of calcium. Induced activity is measured in a scanning, shadow-shield whole-body counter. Calibration has been effected and reproducibility assessed with three different types of phantom. Corrections were derived for variations in body height, depth and fat thickness. The coefficient of variation for repeated measurements of an anthropomorphic phantom was 1.8% for an absorbed dose equivalent of 13 mSv (1.3 rem). Measurements of total body calcium in 40 normal adults were used to derive normalisation factors which predict the normal calcium in a subject of given size and age. The coefficient of variation of normalised calcium was 6.2% in men and 6.6% in women, with the demonstration of an annual loss of 1.5% after the menopause. The narrow range should make single measurements useful for diagnostic purposes.


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