A neutron activation technique for manganese measurements in humans
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Manganese (Mn) is an essential element for humans, animals, and plants and is required for growth, development, and maintenance of health. Studies show that Mn metabolism is similar to that of iron, therefore, increased Mn levels in humans could interfere with the absorption of dietary iron leading to anemia. Also, excess exposure to Mn dust, leads to nervous system disorders similar to Parkinson's disease. Higher exposure to Mn is essentially related to industrial pollution. Thus, there is a benefit in developing a clean non-invasive technique for monitoring such increased levels of Mn in order to understand the risk of disease and development of appropriate treatments. To this end, the feasibility of Mn measurements with their minimum detection limits (MDL) has been reported earlier from the McMaster group. This work presents improvement to Mn assessment using an upgraded system and optimized times of irradiation and counting for induced gamma activity of Mn. The technique utilizes the high proton current Tandetron accelerator producing neutrons via the (7)Li(p,n)(7)Be reaction at McMaster University and an array of nine NaI (Tl) detectors in a 4 π geometry for delayed counting of gamma rays. The neutron irradiation of a set of phantoms was performed with protocols having different proton energy, current and time of irradiation. The improved MDLs estimated using the upgraded set up and constrained timings are reported as 0.67 μgMn/gCa for 2.3 MeV protons and 0.71 μgMn/gCa for 2.0 MeV protons. These are a factor of about 2.3 times better than previous measurements done at McMaster University using the in vivo set-up. Also, because of lower dose-equivalent and a relatively close MDL, the combination of: 2.0 MeV; 300 μA; 3 min protocol is recommended as compared to 2.3 MeV; 400 μA; 45 s protocol for further measurements of Mn in vivo.
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