An accelerator based system forin vivoneutron activation analysis measurements of manganese in human hand bones
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Manganese (Mn) is an essential nutrient for growth and development. Unfortunately, overexposure can lead to neurological damage, which is manifested as a movement disorder marked by tremors. Preclinical symptoms have been found in populations occupationally exposed to the element, and it is suggested that in late stages of the disorder, removing the Mn exposure will not prevent symptoms from progressing. Hence, it is desirable to have a means of monitoring Mn body burden. In vivo neutron activation analysis (IVNAA) is a technique which allows the concentration of some elements to be determined within sites of the body without invasive procedures. Data in the literature suggests that the Mn concentration in bone is greater than other tissues, and that it may be a long term storage site following exposure. Therefore, using the McMaster KN-accelerator to produce neutrons through the 7Li(p,n)7Be reaction, the feasibility of IVNAA for measuring Mn levels in the human hand bone was investigated. Mn is activated through the 55Mn(n,gamma)56Mn reaction, and the 847 keV gamma rays emitted when 56Mn decays are measured outside the body using NaI(Tl) detectors. An optimal incident proton energy of 2.00 MeV was determined from indium foil and microdosimetry measurements. Hand phantom data suggest a minimum detectable limit of approximately 1.8 ppm could be achieved with a reasonably low dose of 50 mSv to the hand (normal manganese levels in the human hand are approximately 1 ppm). It is recommended the technique be developed further to make human in vivo measurements.
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