A novel and fast time-domain quantitation algorithm--quantitation based on semi-parametric quantum estimation (QUEST)--invoking optimal prior knowledge is proposed and tested. This nonlinear least-squares algorithm fits a time-domain model function, made up from a basis set of quantum-mechanically simulated whole-metabolite signals, to low-SNR in vivo data. A basis set of in vitro measured signals can be used too. The simulated basis set was created with the software package NMR-SCOPE which can invoke various experimental protocols. Quantitation of 1H short echo-time signals is often hampered by a background signal originating mainly from macromolecules and lipids. Here, we propose and compare three novel semi-parametric approaches to handle such signals in terms of bias-variance trade-off. The performances of our methods are evaluated through extensive Monte-Carlo studies. Uncertainty caused by the background is accounted for in the Cramér-Rao lower bounds calculation. Valuable insight about quantitation precision is obtained from the correlation matrices. Quantitation with QUEST of 1H in vitro data, 1H in vivo short echo-time and 31P human brain signals at 1.5 T, as well as 1H spectroscopic imaging data of human brain at 1.5 T, is demonstrated.
Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.