Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Physics and Astronomy
Professor Fiona E. McNeill
Manganese is required by the human body, but as with many heavy elements, in large amounts it can be toxic, producing a neurological disorder similar to that of Parkinson's Disease. The primary industrial uses of the element are for the manufacturing of steel and alkali batteries. Environmental exposure may occur via drinking water or exhaust emissions from vehicles using gasoline with the manganese containing compound MMT as an antiknock agent (MMT has been approved for use in both Canada and the United States). Preclinical symptoms of toxicity have recently been detected in individuals occupationally exposed to airborne manganese at levels below the present threshold limit value set by the EPA. Evidence also suggests that early detection of manganese toxicity is crucial since once the symptoms have developed past a certain point, the syndrome will continue to progress even if manganese exposure ceases. The development of a system for in vivo neutron activation analysis (IVNAA) measurement of manganese levels was investigated, with the goal being to have a means of monitoring both over exposed and manganese deficient populations. The McMaster KN-accelerator was used to provide low-energy neutrons, activation within an irradiation site occurred via the 55 Mn(n,γ) 56 Mn capture reaction, and the 847 keV γ-rays emitted when 56 Mn decayed were measured using one or more Nal(TI) detectors. The present data regarding manganese metabolism and storage within the body are limited, and it is unclear what the optimal measurement site would be to provide a suitable biomarker of past exposure. Therefore the feasibility of IVNAA measurements in three sites was examined--the liver, brain and hand bones. Calibration curves were derived, minimum detectable limits determined and resulting doses calculated for each site (experimentally in the case of the liver and hand bones, and through computer simulations for the brain). Detailed analytical calculations of the 7 Li(p,n) 7 Be reaction, used to produce neutrons by the KN, were conducted to determine neutron spectral information, angular distributions and yields. These data were used as input for the transport code MCNP, and computer simulations of experimental conditions were performed. The simulations consistently overestimate experiment measurements by a constant factor, and possible reasons for this discrepancy are discussed. It has been concluded that IVNAA measurements of the brain would only provide limited information, however, measurement of both the liver and hand bone should be possible. It is recommended that preliminary in vivo measurements be pursued for the hand, as metabolic data suggest that bone may be a long term storage site for manganese.
Arnold, Michelle Lynn, "Development of an accelerator based system for in vivo neutron activation analysis measurements of manganese in humans" (2000). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2499.