Doctor recommends MRI for women with pelvic pain

Dr. Faraz Khan, an interventional radiologist at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Imaging Center, is encouraging women who are experiencing chronic pelvic pain to ask for a magnetic resonance imaging test, MRI.

"It's not a new technique," Khan said. "It's just a technique not being used as much as it should. The pictures aren't very clear and an MRI takes the same picture but it's three-dimensional. The picture looks like you opened up the patient rather than a fuzzy, black and white image. An MRI is what helped Kahn properly diagnose Marcia Williams, of North Houston, who lived with chronic pelvic pain for several years.

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Allergic Reactions To Gadolinium Based Contrast Agents Are Rare, Study Finds

Allergic-like reactions to gadolinium-containing contrast injections in adults and pediatric patients (those younger than 19 years of age) are rare, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan Health Systems in Ann Arbor. "When these reactions do occur, most of them are mild," said Jonathan R. Dillman, MD, lead author of the study.

"Over the past few years, the utilization of contrast-enhanced MRI has markedly increased; it's increased by 65% at our institution over the previous five years," said Dr. Dillman.. This is due, at least in part, to a variety of new applications, such as magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and abdominopelvic MR imaging," he said. "Consequently, the number of intravenously administered gadolinium-containing contrast material doses over the same time period has significantly increased. Based on the extensive use these intravascular contrast agents, we felt that it was once again time to study their safety profile," he said.

source article


A Weaker, Cheaper MRI

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have made what they say are the first images of a human brain using magnetic fields a hundred-thousandth the strength of conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), paving the way for lower cost medical images that might be better at detecting tumors.

Though the resolution is much lower than that in conventional MRIs, the images “show we have a potential for pretty good results,” says Vadim Zotev, a researcher in Los Alamos’s applied modern physics group. (That’s his head in the images.)



Society Of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Chooses Open Access

BioMed Central, the world's largest publisher of open access journals, is pleased to announce that the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (JCMR) is moving to BioMed Central's open access publishing platform from the traditional subscription publishers, Taylor & Francis. The move from a subscription publisher to BioMed Central will allow the Society of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (SCMR) members and JCMR authors to disseminate their research in the burgeoning field of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging and spectroscopy more efficiently. In addition, BioMed Central's open access policy ensures that their work will reach not only other SCMR members, but the widest possible global audience.

Beginning in January 2008, JCMR (http://www.jcmr-online.com) readers will have free, instant online access to all published articles not only on BioMed Central's website, but also on PubMed Central as well as other open access repositories, free from the constraints of print publication cycles.



Recommendations On CT Scanning, UK

The Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) has published a number of recommendations* on the use of computed tomography (CT) X-ray scans by private clinics. This advanced X-ray technique is increasingly being used to provide examinations of people who have no symptoms of illness (asymptomatic individuals). While a CT scan undoubtedly provides valuable diagnostic information, such scans produce a significant radiation dose to the patient and this needs to be justified on medical grounds.

COMARE have looked at this practice in depth and have made nine recommendations. The Agency supports the recommendations made by the Committee. In particular, the Agency notes the recommendation that services offering whole body scanning of asymptomatic individuals should stop doing so immediately. There is very little evidence that any benefit of this practice outweighs the potential risk of a significant radiation dose. Until such evidence is produced, the Agency strongly supports COMARE's recommendation that the practice should stop.



PET/CT Imaging Proves Golden For Detecting Cancer In Children

PET/CT imaging exhibits significantly higher sensitivity, specificity and accuracy than conventional imaging when it comes to detecting malignant tumors in children, according to research published in the December issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. And that's not all: PET/CT imaging provides doctors with additional information about cancer in children, possibly sparing young patients from being overtreated.

"PET/CT is useful in finding small tumors in small children and is a promising imaging tool in evaluating pediatric malignancies," said Richard L. Wahl, the Henry N. Wagner, Jr., M.D., Professor in Nuclear Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, Md. "In our study, we found that PET/CT can detect small lymph node lesions diagnosed as negative with conventional (or anatomical) imaging and deny the presence of active disease in soft-tissue masses post-treatment - especially in children with a wide range of malignant cancers," explained the Hopkins professor of radiology and oncology. "Using PET/CT could help spare children from overtreatment while fighting their disease," he added.



Trauma & Routine Assessments Enhanced With World's First Adaptive CT

Siemens Medical Solutions has developed the SOMATOM Definition AS, the first CT scanner that adapts to virtually any patient and clinical need. The system is suitable for routine diagnostic work and complex examinations including oncology, neurology and cardiology. The first system has recently been installed at the University Hospital Trauma Centre in Erlangen, Germany.

The SOMATOM Definition AS provides a fast and accurate diagnosis making the system highly suitable for emergency situations, such as accidents, heart attacks and strokes, where a swift course of treatment can be life saving. It also speeds up examinations for traditionally difficult patients such as children, the obese and those suffering from claustrophobia, thereby alleviating potentially stressful situations and still ensuring the highest diagnostic confidence.



World's Most Powerful MRI Ready To Scan Human Brain

The world's most powerful medical magnetic resonance imaging machine, the 9.4 Tesla at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has successfully completed safety trials and may soon offer physicians a real-time view of biological processes in the human brain.

The safety study was published in the November Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging in an issue focused on MRI safety.

Researchers and physicians hope that the 9.4T will usher in a new era of brain imaging in which they will be able to observe metabolic processes and customize health care.



Hazards Of CT Scans Overstated

Concerns over possible radiation effects of CT scans detailed in a report last Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine should not scare people away from getting medically needed CT scans, as the scans play a critical role in saving the lives of thousands of people every day, according to an official with the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM).

In a statement issued last Friday, Dr. John M. Boone, chairman of AAPM's science council, says that the "science community remains divided" over the radiation dose effects of CT scans and that the findings in the Journal article were based on "flawed assumptions" and were not conclusive. While agreeing with the Journal article's authors, Drs. David Brenner and Eric Hall, that CT scans should only be used judiciously and when medically necessary, Boone says CT experts in the AAPM "feel that much of the message of this article may be misconstrued or misunderstood by the press or by the public who may not be experts in CT."



MRE Could Provide A Definitive Diagnosis For People With Muscle Pain

An estimated nine million men and women in the United States live with myofascial pain syndrome, a condition marked by pain that permeates muscles in the neck, back and shoulders. The condition is difficult to diagnose and not entirely understood, but research studies indicate that a new imaging technology developed at Mayo Clinic holds promise for a definitive diagnosis and, perhaps eventually, new treatments for people who have the syndrome.

A Mayo Clinic study published in the November issue of the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation shows that magnetic resonance elastography, or MRE, can provide images of the affected muscle with clarity and insight not possible with magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. While an MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create clear and detailed cross-sectional images of the body's internal tissues and organs, an MRE measures the elasticity of tissue as it is gently vibrated.



Can CT Scans Raise Cancer Risk?

Nov. 28, 2007 -- As many as 20 million adults and 1 million children in the U.S. receive unnecessary computed tomography (CT) scans each year, potentially causing thousands of excess cancers in decades to come, researchers say.

Writing in Wednesday's issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, the Columbia University researchers warned that the dramatic rise in CT usage to diagnose medical problems and screen for disease could pose a significant risk to public health.

source article


PET/CT Brings New Hope To Patients With Deadly Form Of Breast Cancer

Researchers are improving the chances of women faced with an aggressive and difficult to diagnose form of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer spreads quickly and can be lethal in six to nine months. But by using fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography combined with computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT), radiologists and physicists are able to spot the spread of cancer earlier, according to a study presented yesterday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"PET/CT is useful in staging inflammatory breast cancer, because it provides information on both the primary disease site, as well as disease involvement throughout the rest of the body," said Selin Carkaci, M.D., assistant professor of diagnostic radiology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (UTMDACC) in Houston. "In addition, PET/CT is also a practical tool for therapeutic planning."


PET Imaging May Improve Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Tumor imaging with positron emission tomography (PET) may improve the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of lung cancer patients, according to a review published online November 27 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Tumor imaging is frequently used in the diagnosis of lung cancer and is important for making treatment decisions. Standard imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography imaging, provide information on anatomical changes, but PET imaging is based on biochemical processes that may detect disease even before anatomical changes occur. Therefore, PET imaging may complement standard imaging in the diagnosis of lung cancer.



CT Angiography Highly Accurate, Multicenter Trials Show

Computed tomography (CT) angiography is as accurate as an invasive angiogram in detecting coronary artery disease, according to the findings of the first two prospective multicenter 64-slice scanner trials presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"These two trials with comparable results clearly set the stage for the widespread adoption of and reimbursement for coronary artery CT examinations," said Gerald D. Dodd III, M.D., chair of the Department of Radiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.


Toshiba Launches Breakthrough CT System - The AquilionONE

Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc., a leader in diagnostic and medical imaging, introduced the world's first dynamic volume computed tomography (CT) system - the AquilionONE™. This advanced diagnostic imaging system revolutionizes patient care because it can help reduce diagnosis time for life threatening diseases like stroke and heart disease from days and hours to mere minutes. AquilionONE, will debut at the Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting in Chicago.

For the first time, physicians can see not only a three-dimensional depiction of an organ, but also the organ's dynamic blood flow and function. Unlike any other CT system, the AquilionONE can scan one organ - including the heart, brain and others - in one rotation because it covers up to 16 cm of anatomy using 320 ultra high resolution 0.5mm detector elements. This reduces exam time, as well as radiation and contrast dose, and dramatically increases diagnostic confidence. With the AquilionONE, the organ or area is captured in a single rotation at one moment in time, eliminating the need to reconstruct slices from multiple points in time.



Philips Unveils Computed Tomography (CT) System That Scans The Heart In Two Beats To Aid In Diagnosis And Treatment Of Serious Health Conditions

Last week, at the 93rd annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago, Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) unveiled its latest innovative healthcare products and technologies that seek to make a difference in how radiologists can prevent, diagnose, treat and monitor disease, and allow them to focus more on their patients.

Among the Philips innovations featured at RSNA will be CT products designed specifically to improve image quality and reduce dose in the most demanding studies. The flagship product, the 256-slice Brilliance iCT scanner, allows radiologists to produce high-quality images with exceptional acquisition speed, including complete coverage of the heart and brain. It is so powerful it can capture an image of the entire heart in just two beats, while incorporating Philips technology that has reduced radiation doses by up to 80 percent.[1]



Hitachi Commercializes OASIS, the Highest Field Strength Open MRI

Hitachi Medical Systems America commercialized OASIS, its new patient-centered open architecture MRI scanner, at the Scientific Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. This system, with its superconducting 1.2T vertical field magnet, was cleared for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September of this year.

"OASIS has the highest field-strength whole body vertical field magnet available," points out Shawn Etheridge, Director, MR Marketing, at Hitachi Medical Systems. "Couple that strength with the sensitive Zenith(TM) receiver coils and 1.5T imaging electronics, and you net high-field clinical performance."



Confirma Expands Computer-Aided-Detection (CAD) For MRI To Prostate, Assisting In Improved Cancer Detection

Confirma(R), pioneer and leader in application-specific CAD for MRI, announced the introduction of CADstream for prostate for improved analysis and reporting of the prostate. The prostate application will offer radiologists comprehensive and clinically valuable tools for improved quality, standardization and efficiency of MRI studies. CADstream for prostate will be presented at the upcoming Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting, the largest medical meeting in the world and the pre-eminent venue for introducing new technologies for radiology (November 25-27, Chicago). At the meeting, the company will also introduce the next generation of CADstream for breast MRI.

"Over the past five years, CADstream for breast MRI has received broad-scale acceptance from the women's imaging community," said Wayne Wager, president and CEO, Confirma, Inc. "We believe that prostate research studies and ongoing development with our clinical sites will help establish CAD within the men's imaging community. CAD provides physicians with valuable tools to improve the detection of cancer and treatment planning."



Post-treatment PET Scans Can Reassure Cervical Cancer Patients

Whole-body PET (positron emission tomography) scans done three months after completion of cervical cancer therapy can ensure that patients are disease-free or warn that further interventions are needed, according to a study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

"This is the first time we can say that we have a reliable test to follow cervical cancer patients after therapy," says Julie K. Schwarz, M.D., Ph.D., a Barnes-Jewish Hospital resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology. "We ask them to come back for a follow-up visit about three months after treatment is finished, and we perform a PET scan. If the scan shows a complete response to treatment, we can say with confidence that they are going to do extremely well. That's really powerful."



Use Of Intraoperative MRI Adds Time But Care Changing Information To Neurosurgery

Although the use of intraoperative MRI can add time to surgical procedures, it can help surgeons detect residual disease and, if needed, modify their plan for surgery while the patient is on the operating room table, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.

The study included 122 patients between the ages of 6 - 77 who underwent 130 neurosurgical and ear, nose and throat procedures, including 106 craniotomies and 17 pituitary resections. The study showed that 73% of the patients who had undergone intraoperative MRI had additional surgical resection based on the intraoperative findings, said Jonathan Lewin, MD, lead author of the study. Each patient had between one and five intra-or postoperative imaging sessions which were between 1.7 seconds to 8 minutes. According to the study, the added total imaging time per case was around 35 minutes.

source article


Toshiba Announces Its Fourth Generation Contrast-Free Technique - Time And Space Angiography (TSA)

As the leading developer of contrast-free magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) techniques, Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc., introduced a fourth generation contrast-free imaging technique, Time and Space Angiography (TSA). Adding to the robust offering of contrast-free techniques from Toshiba, TSA creates images that show dynamic blood flow without using contrast agents. As the first medical imaging company to introduce advanced contrast-free MRA techniques, Toshiba is further expanding the capabilities and safety of MRA imaging.

TSA will have a variety of clinical benefits to improve both diagnostic confidence and patient care and safety. TSA builds upon the pioneering Time-Spatial Labeling Inversion Pulse technique (Time-SLIP) and is especially desirable for patients with compromised circulations and renal flow problems. It features an extremely high temporal resolution and a continually changing inversion pulse time, creating dynamic images showing blood flow in motion.



MRI Best To Detect Cancer Spread Into Breast Ducts

MRI is better than MDCT for determining if and how far breast cancer has spread into the breast ducts and should be used before patients receive breast conserving treatment, a new study shows.

"Patients have a lower survival rate if their surgical margins are positive for tumor cells. A positive surgical margin is commonly the result of inadequate resection of the cancer's intraductal component," said Akiko Shimauchi, MD, at Tohoku University in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan. "Accurate preoperative diagnosis of the intraductal component allows the surgeon to achieve a cancer-free surgical margin," she said.



PET Scans Useful For Some Cancer Treatment, But How Do Patients Fare?

Positron emission tomography or PET scans can help clinicians diagnose and treat some cancers, but it is not clear yet whether the imaging technology helps people with cancer live longer and healthier lives, according to a comprehensive review by the U.K. National Health Service.

PET scans are one of the latest tools used to detect and determine a cancer's activity in the body. PET is generally more accurate than other imaging technologies such as computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Using tiny radioactive elements, a PET scan can zero in on the distinctive biochemical fingerprints that distinguish cancerous cells from normal tissue.


Toshiba Announces Its Fourth Generation Contrast-Free Technique - Time And Space Angiography (TSA)

As the leading developer of contrast-free magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) techniques, Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc., introduced a fourth generation contrast-free imaging technique, Time and Space Angiography (TSA). Adding to the robust offering of contrast-free techniques from Toshiba, TSA creates images that show dynamic blood flow without using contrast agents. As the first medical imaging company to introduce advanced contrast-free MRA techniques, Toshiba is further expanding the capabilities and safety of MRA imaging.

TSA will have a variety of clinical benefits to improve both diagnostic confidence and patient care and safety. TSA builds upon the pioneering Time-Spatial Labeling Inversion Pulse technique (Time-SLIP) and is especially desirable for patients with compromised circulations and renal flow problems. It features an extremely high temporal resolution and a continually changing inversion pulse time, creating dynamic images showing blood flow in motion.

source article


Low-intensity MRI takes first scan of a human brain

It takes only a tiny magnetic field to see clear through a person's head, a new study shows. A method called ultra-low field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has captured its first, blurry shots of a human brain, revealing activity as well as structure.

MRI scanners image the human body by detecting how hydrogen atoms respond to magnetic fields. They typically require fields of a few tesla – about 10,000 to 100,000 times stronger than the Earth's magnetic field. The powerful magnets necessary make scanners pricey and also dangerous for people with metal implants.



MRI scan dye can be deadly for kidney patients

A dye used in millions of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans worldwide can be poison for people with serious kidney problems and cause a debilitating, incurable and sometimes fatal disease called neophrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF).

Dyes based on gadolinium — the magnetic ion blamed for the condition — are safe for most people, said David Seidenwurm, a neuroradiologist with Radiological Associates of Sacramento. But for people with severe kidney problems, the ion can poison the patient by causing collagen to build up in tissues.



GE Brings Molecular Imaging Into Treatment Planning Arena

GE Healthcare's next-generation volume PET/CT application is stepping beyond helping clinicians diagnose, stage, treat and monitor tumors and other lesions in the body. As demonstrated at today's opening of the 49th annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiation and Oncology in Los Angeles, PET VCAR (Volume Computer-Assisted Reading) is equally valuable for Radiation Therapy planning.

"PET VCAR optimizes tumor management, enabling early quantification and understanding of treatment effectiveness for precision treatment planning," said Gene Saragnese, vice president and general manager of Molecular Imaging and CT Business at GE Healthcare. "But it also is being used to measure the effectiveness of that treatment by identifying, delineating and quantifying areas of metabolic activity in PET/CT scans and, through its advanced registration capability, for quick comparison of tumor response over time."



Dementia Diagnosis By PET Scan

A PET scan (positron emission tomography) that measures uptake of sugar in the brain significantly improves the accuracy of diagnosing a type of dementia often mistaken for Alzheimer's disease, a study led by a University of Utah dementia expert has found.

The scan, FDG-PET, helped six doctors from three national Alzheimer's disease centers correctly diagnose frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Alzheimer's in almost 90 percent of cases in the study -- an improvement of as much as 14 percent from usual clinical diagnostic methods. FDG stands for fluorodeoxyglucose, a short-lived radioactive form of sugar injected into people during PET scans to show activity levels in different parts of the brain. In Alzheimer's, low activity is mostly in the back part of the brain; in FTD, low activity is mostly in the front of the brain.



Incidental Findings Common with Brain MRI

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands

Incidental brain findings on MRI may be common once people hit middle age, although it is unclear what clinicians should do about such findings, researchers said.

MRI showed asymptomatic strokes in 7.2% of the general population in Rotterdam, according to a population-based study published in the Nov. 1 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The prevalence of incidentally discovered cerebral aneurysms was 1.8% and for benign tumors it was 1.6%, reported Aad van der Lugt, M.D., of Erasmus MC University Medical Center here, and colleagues.

Medpage Today

Standardizing Radiation Dose In 4D CT Scans Can Reduce Lung Injury To Cancer Patients

A new method to standardize the reporting of radiation dose volumes in the use of four-dimensional computed tomography (4D-CT) can lead to a more accurate radiation dose to the lungs in lung cancers, thereby lowering the risk of lung injury, according to a study presented at the Plenary I session on October 29, 2007, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's 49th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

"This is the first study to evaluate the degree of differences that 4D CT has on dose volumes and to propose a method to standardize them for more effective radiation treatment," said Kara Bucci, M.D., author of the study and a radiation oncologist at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "We believe standardized reporting can lead to better interpretation of existing data and more accurate reporting of future studies. This will lead to improved risk assessment in planning individualized patient care."



After Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy PET Scans Track Small Tumors

Readily available CT screening for lung cancer is increasing the discovery of small, primary lung cancers. For many, a radiation technique called stereotactic body radiotherapy presents a less invasive treatment option to surgery that is typically offered to non-surgical candidates. Currently there is great interest in evaluating this approach in surgical candidates, but researchers have yet to identify an early method to determine the effectiveness in treatment which is vital. In a study presented at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's 49th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, researchers presented data showing metabolic response monitored by FDG PET may be an early surrogate for local treatment failure which may allow timely salvage surgery if deemed necessary.



Innovative 3D-imaging Technique Captures Brain Damage Linked To Alzheimer's Disease

ScienceDaily — Using an advanced three-dimensional mapping technique developed by UCLA researchers, the team analyzed magnetic resonance imaging data from 24 patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and 25 others with mild Alzheimer’s disease.

Patients in both categories exhibit progressive brain atrophy, with most MCI patients showing the pathologic changes characteristic of Alzheimer’s. MCI patients slip into dementia at a rate of 10 to 15 percent each year. The research team found that patients with mild Alzheimer’s had 10 to 20 percent more atrophy in most cortical areas than did MCI patients.

source article


GE Healthcare Now Shipping Cardiac Imaging With Up To 70 Percent Lower Dose

GE Healthcare's SnapShot Pulse technology for Cardiovascular CT is now in place at dozens of facilities across the nation and it's on display at the annual meeting of Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) in Washington, D.C. this week.

SnapShot Pulse is the industry's first-ever computed tomography (CT) feature that maintains outstanding image quality while reducing a patient's radiation exposure by up to 70% per scan. The CT system automatically "pulses" with a patient's heartbeat, turning the X-rays on and off at desired times during the heart rate cycle. In standard cardiac CT exams, the CT is on for the duration of a scan, even during periods when a patient's heart is at an undesirable phase. Since SnapShot Pulse software only keeps the x-ray active for optimal phases of a scan, it's able to significantly reduce a patient's radiation exposure time.

source - medicalnewstoday


MRI scan restrictions put on hold

A European law which would have restricted the use of life-saving MRI scanners was put on hold after complaints from British scientists and MPs that potential health risks from the machines were exaggerated.

A House of Commons Committee slammed the law in a report a year ago expressing "alarm" that the Commission was relying on 10-year old risk assessment information in such a fast-moving high-tech area as MRI scanners.

And a recent report submitted to Brussels by UK scientists also helped win a four-year postponement while EU experts reconsider the plan.

source article


ARRS Offering Breast MRI Symposium

ARRS announces that registration is now open for Practical Breast MRI, a two-day symposium scheduled February 1-2 at the Westin Casuarina Las Vegas Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. The target audience includes practicing diagnostic and other radiology professionals, and in particular mammographers who are interested in applying current breast MR imaging protocols to their practice and addressing relevant issues.

Regisitration details are HERE

Early Determination Of Effectiveness Of Cancer Treatment Using Quantitative PET Imaging

With positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, seeing is believing: Evaluating a patient's response to chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) typically involves visual interpretation of scans of cancer tumors. Researchers have found that measuring a quantitative index -- one that reflects the reduction of metabolic activity after chemotherapy first begins -- adds accurate information about patients' responses to first-line chemotherapy, according to a study in the October issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

"In our study, we demonstrated that a quantitative assessment of therapeutic response for patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is more accurate than visual analysis alone when using the radiotracer FDG (fluorodeoxyglucose) with PET scans," said Michel Meignan, professor of nuclear medicine at Henri Mondor Hospital in Creteil, France. "The ability to predict tumor response early in the course of treatment is very valuable clinically, allowing intensification of treatment in those patients who are unlikely to response to first-line chemotherapy," he added. "Similarly, treatment could possibly be shortened in those patients who show a favorable response after one or two cycles of chemotherapy, and quantification also may help identify the disease's transformation from low-grade to aggressive stage," he explained. "However, visual interpretation of PET scans will always be the first step of analysis and will prevail in case of difficulties to quantify images," added Meignan.

source - medicalnewstoday.com


MRI predicts liver fibrosis, study says

Moderate to severe chronic liver disease can be predicted with the use of diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI), according to a recent study conducted by researchers at New York University Medical Center in New York, NY.

Due to the increased incidence of chronic hepatitis in the United States, particularly hepatitis C, there is a strong need for non-invasive methods to replace or supplement liver biopsy, which is relatively invasive and limited by interobserver variability and sampling error, said Bachir Taouli, MD, lead author of the study. DWI appears promising in that purpose, although it needs validation in larger series, he said.



First Live Patient Demonstration of Next Generation i-CAT(R) Cone Beam 3-D Imaging System


Imaging Sciences International, the global leader in advanced dental and maxillofacial radiography products, and Henry Schein, Inc. (NASDAQ:HSIC - News), the largest provider of healthcare products and services to office-based practitioners in the combined North American and European markets, successfully participated in the first live patient demonstrations of the Next Generation i-CAT® 3-D dental imaging system at the 2007 American Dental Association (ADA) Annual Session in San Francisco, Calif.

The i-CAT® is the leader in Cone Beam 3-D imaging, producing anatomically accurate three-dimensional views of all mouth, face, and jaw anatomy. The i-CAT® is exclusively distributed by Henry Schein in the United States and Canada. The live patient 3-D imaging educational session, featuring the i-CAT®, demonstrated how Cone Beam 3-D imaging can be used to analyze patient anatomy and create the most accurate treatment plans for successful surgical procedures.



Caution urged over overuse of CT scans in South Florida

By Bob LaMendola
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The CT scan — a medical darling for its detailed images, diagnostic power and big profits — is being overused in South Florida and nationally so much that some experts worry the radiation may cause cases of cancer.

New reports this year assert that computed tomography scans expose patients to small but significant doses of radiation that can add up over time, findings that CT defenders dismiss as alarmist.

The reports warn doctors to limit CT radiation exposure to patients, especially children and small adults who are at elevated risk, and to use radiation-free ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) if possible.

source article here


New thoracic imaging approach can pinpoint underlying venous problems

University of Cincinnati (UC) radiologists have developed a new technique for capturing images of chest veins that eases diagnosis of venous diseases.

Multi-detector computed tomography (CT) scanners are traditionally used to create three-dimensional images of arteries, the vessels which carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart and distribute blood throughout the body. Veins, smaller vessels that return blood to the heart, are more difficult to accurately image.

Developed by Cristopher Meyer, MD and Achala Vagal, MD, the new protocol allows radiologists to compensate for the extra time it takes contrast solution to reach the veins so useful images can be produced using the CT scanner.

source article


MRI Is More Sensitive At Detecting Early Signs Of Breast Cancer Than Mammography

If used with appropriate diagnostic criteria, MRI is much more sensitive than mammography for detecting breast cancers before they have developed to an invasive stage, and particularly good at identifying those lesions which are more likely to progress to dangerous forms of cancer, according to a study published in The Lancet. This finding is in stark contrast to previous studies comparing the two techniques that concluded MRI can not detect early cancers as effectively as mammography.

Debates over which screening modality is best for detecting ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)---an early type of breast cancer in which cancerous cells are present but are confined to the milk ducts within the breasts---have in the past focused on identification of microcalcifications, small areas where cells have died and subsequently turned into calcium deposits, which are used as a hallmark of cancerous growth. Mammography can visualise these features in a breast scan whereas MRI cannot.

source article


A Breast Tumor's Response To Chemotherapy Can Be Accurately Detected By PET Scans

Researchers in Australia have shown that positron emission tomography (PET) that uses a radioactive sugar molecule is more useful than mammography and ultrasound in predicting a breast tumour's response to chemotherapy and, therefore, the patient's ultimate likelihood of survival.

In research presented at the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) in Barcelona, Dr Vinod Ganju reported that when the scanning procedure was used to measure the accumulation of radioactive glucose fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) in tumour tissue from patients with locally-advanced breast cancer before and after preoperative chemotherapy, women who had the highest accumulation at the beginning and who then had the highest percentage drop in accumulation after four cycles of chemotherapy were more likely to have a complete response to their treatment i.e. no tumour cells remaining in the final tumour resection specimen. However, measurements taken using mammography or ultrasound were not able to predict a pathological response accurately.

source article Medical News Today


MR spectroscopy identifies breast cancer, reduces biopsies

OAK BROOK, Ill.—Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (¹H MRS) used in conjunction with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can aid radiologists in diagnosing breast cancer while reducing the number of false-positive results and invasive biopsies, according to a study focusing on non-mass enhancing breast lesions. The study, conducted at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, appears in the October issue of the journal Radiology.

“All of the cancers present in this study were identified with MR spectroscopy,” said the study’s lead author, Lia Bartella, M.D., director of breast imaging at Eastside Diagnostic Imaging in New York City.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 212,920 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States this year. MRI is playing an increasingly important role in the screening of women at high risk for breast cancer. However, while MRI depicts more abnormal findings than other breast screening procedures, it is not 100 percent accurate in distinguishing benign from malignant lesions, resulting in a large number of breast biopsy procedures recommended on the basis of imaging findings. Currently, approximately 80 percent of breast lesions biopsied are found to be benign.

source article


Radiologists identify early brain marker of Alzheimer's disease

Researchers using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have found a new marker which may aid in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in the October issue of Radiology.

“The findings of this study implicate a potential functional, rather than structural, brain marker—separate from atrophy—that may help enhance diagnosis and treatment monitoring of Alzheimer’s patients,” said the study’s lead author, Jeffrey R. Petrella, M.D., associate professor of radiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

source article


Cancer specialists warn EU directive puts MRI benefits at risk

MADRID (AFP) - Cancer researchers warned at a conference in Spain Monday that an EU directive on limiting magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could halt use of an important tool in the fight against the disease.

The directive is set to be implemented across Europe by April next year and was drawn up to limit medical workers' exposure to electromagnetic fields.

But Professor Dag Rune Olsen, a specialist in experimental radiation therapy at the Norwegian Radiation Hospital in Oslo, told the European Cancer Conference in Barcelona that the directive could put at risk some eight million annual MRI scans, hampering patient treatment.

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Catheter Angiography May Be An Unnecessary Follow-up To CT Angiography

Science Daily — Even in challenging cases, CT angiography (CTA) offers an accurate and rapid diagnosis for blunt trauma victims who may have aortic or great vessel injury negating the need for more invasive procedures, according to a recent study conducted by radiologists at the University of Washington and the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center in Seattle, WA.

CTA is commonly used to rule out blunt aortic and intrathoracic great vessel injuries, but sometimes the results are indeterminate, said Marla Sammer, MD, lead author of the study. When the results are indeterminate, a subsequent catheter angiography is usually performed.

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Lung Cancer Alliance Stands Behind CT Screening For Lung Cancer

While the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) came out last week in opposition to CT screening for lung cancer, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) reiterated its support for the screening test which can detect lung cancer at its earliest most treatable stage for those at high risk.

"Mammograms for breast cancer faced enormous opposition for decades and there is still heated debate over screening of women under the age of 50. And there are reams of papers showing no mortality benefit for PSA testing for prostate cancer," said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, President of Lung Cancer Alliance.

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Bright Tumors, Dim Prospects

It doesn't matter how small or large it is, if a cervical tumor glows brightly in a PET scan, it's apt to be more dangerous than dimmer tumors. That's the conclusion of a new study of cervical cancer patients at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

"We've seen that among patients with the same stage of cervical cancer, there will be some patients who don't respond to treatment as well as others," says lead author Elizabeth A. Kidd, M.D., a Barnes-Jewish Hospital resident in Washington University's Department of Radiation Oncology. "Our study suggests that PET (positron emission tomography) can reliably identify patients who have a poorer prognosis."

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New Guidelines For Lung Cancer Oppose General CT Screening

New evidenced-based guidelines from the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) recommend against the use of low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) for the general screening of lung cancer. Published as a supplement to the September issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the ACCP, the guidelines cite there is little evidence to show lung cancer screening impacts mortality in patients, including those who are considered at high risk for the disease. The guidelines also recommend against the use of vitamin or mineral supplements for the prevention of lung cancer, for these do little to decrease the risk of lung cancer, while beta-carotene has been associated with increased risk of lung cancer.

"Even in high risk populations, currently available research data do not show that lung cancer screening alters mortality outcomes," said W. Michael Alberts, MD, FCCP, chair of the ACCP lung cancer guidelines and Chief Medical Officer, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL. "We hope that one day, we can find a useful and accurate tool for general lung cancer screening, but, at this time, the evidence does not support the use of LDCT screening."

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Ongoing Training In CT Colonography Recommended For Gastroenterologists

Recognizing that CT colonography will play a role in screening for colorectal cancer (CRC), and the critical need to increase overall CRC screening rates, the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute issued minimum standards for gastroenterologist performance of the test. To ensure competence, a minimum of 75 endoscopically confirmed cases should be interpreted by the physician.

Despite the fact that CT colonography has not yet been endorsed as a primary screening test in asymptomatic, normal risk adults, many patients have shown interest in this test. The indications for CT colonography are controversial, with many payers recommending that this test only be indicated for patients who have had a failed optical colonoscopy or who have a mass obstructing the colon where examination of the entire colon is required prior to surgical resection. Nonetheless, CT colonography may be considered for patients unwilling to undergo other colorectal screening tests, note the authors of the standards paper, which is published in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the AGA Institute.

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New Imaging Technique Reveals Fatty Hearts in Pre-diabetics

(NewsRx.com) -- A simple imaging technique developed by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers has revealed fat buildup in the hearts of pre-diabetic people long before symptoms of heart disease or diabetes appear.

The technique detects fat accumulation in cells of the beating heart in a way no other clinical method can, the researchers said, and may provide a way to screen patients for early signs of heart disease in diabetes.

“Hearts beat; people breathe; and magnetic resonance imaging is very sensitive to motion, so we had to find a way to electronically ‘freeze' the image of the heart,” said Dr. Lidia Szczepaniak, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and senior author of a study appearing in the Sept. 4 issue of Circulation.

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Greater Efficiency And Diagnostic Certainty In Cardiac MRI

Now functional cardiac analysis is performed even faster than before with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - thanks to a new software module from Siemens: the new "Inline Ventricular Function" (Inline VF) enables full automatic detection of heart contours and their motion during image acquisition. Physicists can accurately evaluate cardiac functioning immediately after the scan. Previously, the image data had to be transferred to post-processing consoles, and frequently contours had to be post-processed manually. Functional data are extremely important for the evaluation of myocardial infarction or myocarditis. They are also equally necessary when determining indications for ICD implants implantable cardioverter-defibrillator).

Inline VF is integrated as a software module directly into the acquisition sequence, enabling calculation of functional data already during image acquisition. The heart is localized on MR images automatically; the system detects the inner and outer contours and generates the functional data without additional mouse clicks. Already now MRI is the gold standard for functional cardiac diagnostics, the efficient workflow means that even more patients will be able to benefit from this radiation-free cardiological procedure.

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Alternative Method Of Urinary Tract Imaging Reduces Radiation Dose

The split-bolus (cross sectional imaging) MDCT urography technique reduces both radiation dose and number of images produced, according to a recent study conducted by radiologists from Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, CA and VA Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto, CA.

"Since CT urography was first conceived, in the late 90s, there have been a multitude of protocols described in the literature. The vast majority of these protocols entail scanning patients before contrast and at multiple phases after the administration of IV contrast," said Lawrence C. Chow, MD, lead author of the study. "We wanted to show that a similar examination could be achieved with fewer scan acquisitions [meaning potentially less radiation and fewer images] by administering a split-bolus of IV contrast, without sacrificing sensitivity," he said.

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New MRI Finding Sheds Light On Multiple Sclerosis Disease Progression

Using magnetic resonance (MR) images of the brain, researchers have identified a new abnormality related to disease progression and disability in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study published in the September issue of Radiology, published by the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"Based on these findings, physicians may be able to diagnose multiple sclerosis more accurately and identify patients at risk for developing progressive disease," said the study's lead author, Rohit Bakshi, M.D., associate professor of neurology and radiology at Harvard Medical School and director of clinical MS-MRI at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Partners MS Center in Boston.

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Cardiac CTA reveals significant incidental disease beyond the heart

A study by University of Maryland researchers has found that CT angiography exams performed after coronary artery bypass surgery can help physicians identify unsuspected, clinically relevant cardiac and noncardiac conditions.

Imagers learned years ago that many patients undergoing electron beam CT of the heart also showed incidental cardiac and noncardiac disease warranting management. Tests like coronary artery calcium scoring without contrast media, for instance, now popular for use with multislice CT scanners, can show such findings.

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Multidetector CT Angiography Promising for Brain Aneurysm

DUISBURG, Germany, July 31 -- Multidetector CT angiography can diagnose and assess intracranial aneurysms with equivalent accuracy to digital subtraction angiography, investigators here reported.

Compared with DSA, the investigators found that multidetector CTA had a sensitivity of 98% and a specificity of 100% for detecting brain aneurysms, according to an article in the August issue of Radiology. In addition, multidetector CTA predicted the feasibility of endovascular treatment with 94% sensitivity and 92% specificity.

We conclude that multidetector CT angiography… can be used as the first step in the diagnostic workup of patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage," said Karsten Papke, M.D., of the Duisburg Clinic, and colleagues.

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Using MRI For Diagnosis Could Help Prevent Breast Cancer Progression

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose breast cancer in its intraductal stage could help prevent the development of invasive cancer, conclude authors of an Article in this week’s edition of The Lancet. And an accompanying Comment says that the findings show that MRI should now be used as a distinct method in its own right to detect breast cancer in its earliest stage.

Professor Christiane Kuhl, Department of Radiology, University of Bonn, Germany and colleagues studied 7319 women over a five-year period who had been referred to an academic breast centre. The women received MRI in addition to conventional mammography for diagnostic assessment and screening, with the aim of discovering the sensitivity of each method for diagnosing ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Mammograms and MRI scans were then assessed independently by different radiologists, and the relative sensitivity of each method of detection was assessed by comparing the biological profiles of mammography-detected DCIS with those of MRI-detected DCIS.

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New Level of Effectiveness for CT Colonography Examinations

Siemens Medical Solutions is solidifying its presence at the forefront of the market for computer-assisted reading tools in CT colonography by today announcing the release of a new version of syngo® Colonography PEV (Polyp Enhanced Viewing), an automated second reader tool for the visualization of lesions in the colon.

The solution helps radiologists to detect polyp-shaped objects between 6 mm and 25 mm in size and can now be used both in clean-prepped and solid-liquid tagged protocols. With the new version, syngo® Colonography PEV delivers the benefits of computer-assisted reading to a wider range of protocols commonly applied in CT colonography today, including stool tagging agents. The PEV tool is seamlessly integrated into the syngo Colonography CT application.

Together with workflow-enhancing features such as Auto Polyp Measurements, the software improves reading accuracy as well as efficiency. The solution was developed using an extensive database of more than 1700 CT colonography cases from more than 15 clinical sites worldwide, and covers a variety of CT acquisition parameters and bowel preparation protocols.

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Study Cautions Use Of Cardiac CTA In Children

Cardiac-gated CTA radiation doses can vary and be as high as 28.4 mSv (10 times the annual natural background radiation) in children, according to a recent study conducted by researchers from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC and Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, CA.

"This investigation evaluated the potential radiation dose of coronary CT angiography in pediatric patients," said Caroline Hollingsworth, MD of Duke University Medical Center, lead author of the study. "Since often adult technologies and techniques are simply applied to children, we were interested in assessing what the dose could be," she said.

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Siemens Unveils World's First High Definition PET-CT, Providing Unprecedented Clarity Through Entire Field Of View

Just as the clarity of high definition television has transformed the entertainment world, Siemens Medical Solutions is redefining the quality of molecular imaging with the introduction of high definition positron emission tomography. Siemens has unveiled HD PET, the world's first and only high definition PET technology to offer consistently sharper and clearly defined images across the entire field of view beginning of June 2007 in the USA. "As the leading innovator in molecular imaging, Siemens raises the bar in innovation yet again by adding high definition to the Biograph TruePoint family of hybrid PET CT systems," said Michael Reitermann, president, Molecular Imaging, Siemens Medical Solutions. "The clarity of HD PET will provide greater specificity and accuracy and will enable physicians to more confidently delineate small lesions - including those in lymph nodes, abdomen, head and neck, and brain- to provide earlier, more targeted treatment."

The clarity achieved by HD PET is the result of a unique and proprietary technology that optimizes the elements of image uniformity, resolution and contrast - that together change the whole picture." The uniform resolution provided by HD PET throughout the field-of-view is a significant step in improving PET image quality," said David Townsend, PhD, director, Molecular Imaging and Translational Research Program, University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, who has worked with Siemens while testing the new HD PET technology. "Historically with PET imaging, intrinsic image quality has been known to degrade with increasing distance from the center of the scanner. HD PET eliminates this effect thus providing increased diagnostic confidence to more accurately resolve peripheral lesions. This, in turn, could potentially improve staging of disease and hence clinical outcome."

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PET Scan Shows During Treatment If Radiation Is Shrinking Lung Tumor

Lung cancer patients may not need to wait till their radiation treatment is over to know if it worked. A PET scan several weeks after starting radiation treatment for lung cancer can indicate whether the tumor will respond to the treatment, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Traditionally, PET, or positron emission tomography, has been used after radiation treatment for lung cancer to assess whether the tumor responded to treatment and whether the patients will have a chance of being cured. Using PET several weeks into treatment, researchers found a strong correlation between tumor responses during treatment and response three months after completion of the treatment. This could potentially allow doctors to change the radiation treatment plan before treatment ends to improve the outcome.

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Physicians Who Use FONAR UPRIGHT(TM) MRI Testify to the Unique Benefits

MELVILLE, NY -- 07/12/07 -- FONAR Corporation (NASDAQ: FONR), The Inventor of MR Scanning(TM), reported today that physicians who use the FONAR UPRIGHT(TM) MRI are testifying to the unique benefits of the technology in patient care. They are appearing in 2-page color advertisements in the peer-reviewed journal 'Radiology,' published by the Radiologic Society of North America.

The physicians are introduced with the headline, "Why So Many Surgeons Are Buying the FONAR UPRIGHT(TM) MRI." Then they speak for themselves.

The testimonials of the prominent surgeons and leading radiologists are also appearing in advertisements in numerous other major medical magazines, including The Journal of the American Medical Association, Spine, Radiology, Diagnostic Imaging, The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedics and the Journal of Neurology.

complete press release here


PET-CT Scanners Prone To Generating False-Positive Results In Atherosclerosis

Current PET-CT scanners with standard commercial software designed to provide images of the heart are falsely indicating coronary artery disease in as many as 40 percent of patients, according to a study published on the cover page of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Lead author K. Lance Gould, M.D., professor in the Division of Cardiology at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, said he discovered the abnormalities upon his initial use of cardiac PET-CT scanners in the Weatherhead P.E.T. Center For Preventing and Reversing Atherosclerosis at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.

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Software Enhancement Of Breast MRI Scans Help Radiologists Reduce False Positives

Using commercially available software to enhance breast scans done by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) reduces the number of false positive identifications of malignant tumors and the subsequent need for biopsies, according to a new study.

Teresa Williams, M.D., and colleagues at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and the University of Washington Medical Center did a retrospective examination of 154 breast lesions deemed suspicious by radiologists that were only visible on MRI and that had been biopsied under MRI guidance. They compared the findings and recommendations made by radiologists at the time to new findings using computer-aided enhancement (CAE) software to enhance and evaluate the visible response to contrast agents absorbed by breast tissue.



MRI Is Key To Understanding Cartilage Health

Science Daily — Cartilage injury, repair and regrowth have long been mysterious processes. In part, this is because injured cartilage doesn’t act like many other injured tissues; cartilage continues to decline in function well after trauma, and is very slow to heal.

For the most part, however, the imaging tools traditionally used have not supplied enough quantitative data to successfully monitor the health of cartilage tissue. New imaging techniques and technologies are coming in place to change that, however.

“With MRI and MRI spectroscopy, we have the ability to understand easily and quickly exactly what is going on” in the joint, says UCSF orthopaedic surgeon Benjamin Ma, MD.

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Mobile PET/CT Staff More Exposed To Radiation, Study Shows

UK researchers call for more staff dose awareness and training when it comes to mobile PET/CT scanners, after their study investigated radiation exposure doses to technical staff involved in the various phases of patient scanning, in special during patient injection. The work, led by Mr. Khalid Alsafi from the Department of Physics of the University of Surrey, Guildford, was presented on Wednesday at the UK Radiological Congress 2007.

Static PET/CT facilities in the UK are limited - there are less than 20 scanners in England which has resulted in unfavourable waiting lists. Mobile PET/CT units can be considered as a helpful solution because they can offer access to a large number of locations, but the unit design, workload and staffing patterns are different from those used in static sites, often resulting in higher dose levels for technical staff operating mobile scanners.

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Scientists warn new EU rules threaten MRI scans

LONDON (Reuters) - New European Union safety rules, designed to safeguard workers, would jeopardize the use of MRI scanners in hospitals, leading scientists said on Monday.

The European Society of Radiology said new scientific evidence showed the limits set in the EU Physical Agents Directive were impractical, since they would be routinely exceeded by workers close to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners.

"The values described in the directive would be exceeded in every use of MRI," Gabriel Krestin, professor and chairman of the Department of Radiology at Erasmus University in the Netherlands, said in a statement.

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A First: Simultaneous PET/MR Images Of The Brain Debut, Increase Molecular Imaging Capabilities

The world's first PET/MR images of the human brain - taken simultaneously by positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and magnetic resonance (MR) - debuted during the 54th Annual Meeting of SNM, the world's largest society for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine professionals, June 2-6 in Washington, D.C.

"Here at SNM's Annual Meeting, we are showing the first simultaneously acquired PET/MR images of the human brain," noted Bernd J. Pichler, associate professor and head of the Laboratory for Preclinical Imaging and Imaging Technology in the Department of Radiology at the University of Tuebingen in Germany. "PET/MR, acquired in one measurement, presents a tremendous leap forward in imaging capabilities. PET/MR - acquired in one measurement - has the potential to become the imaging modality of choice for neurological studies, certain forms of cancer, stroke and the emerging study of stem cell therapy," he added. "We expect that PET/MR will open new doors in understanding the pathologies and progression of various neurological disorders like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, epilepsy, depression and schizophrenia," he emphasized.

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What's Going On In The Body? Advanced Time-of-Flight PET Takes A Superior 'Look'

Moving from computer simulation to patient images, researchers are now demonstrating the benefits that time-of-flight (TOF)/PET (positron emission tomography) imaging can provide for cancer patients. The result? Superior images and shorter patient scan times for starters, according to a study released at the 54th Annual Meeting of SNM, the world's largest society for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine professionals, June 2-6 in Washington, D.C.

"Our TOF/PET patient images exhibit superior image quality and suggest that shorter patient scan times could be performed in many cases," said Amy Perkins, a Philips Medical Systems clinical site scientist based at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "Previously, we have studied TOF/PET with computer simulations and controlled experiments to approximate the behavior within the human body, showing that we can get very good image quality with shorter scanning times," she said. "We have now moved our investigation to clinical studies - using PET scans from patients with a wide range of body weight, with different types of cancer and with different size cancer tumors - to determine whether the scan time may be reduced significantly without sacrificing clinical content," added Perkins. "In our study, we are getting an excellent representation of what's going on in the body," she added.

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Lawyer sparks distrust of MRIs

A malpractice attorney’s television advertisement has concerned doctors and panicked local patients injected with contrast drugs to enhance Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

At least four patients and some referring physicians have inquired about the safety of an ingredient in the contrast drugs, said Karen Saunders, marketing manager at Northeastern Pennsylvania Imaging Center on Stafford Avenue.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a technique used to produce high-quality pictures of the inside of the human body. Radiologists sometimes give patients contrast drugs with chemicals that make certain areas easier to view on the scan.

“We started getting calls last week and one lady, whose teeth are bothering her, is now sure it’s from the MRI,” Ms. Saunders said. “Prior to that, only referring physicians called us with questions in the last month.”

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MRI May Predict Recovery After Spinal Cord Injury

Science Daily — Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), radiologists can better predict the likelihood of full or partial recovery of patients with acute spinal cord injuries (SCI), according to a study published in the June issue of the journal Radiology.

"Our study demonstrates that the possibility and extent of neurological recovery after SCI can be predicted within 48 hours after injury by rigorous assessment of MR images," said co-author Michael G. Fehlings, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.S.C., professor of neurosurgery at the University of Toronto and medical director at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre at Toronto Western Hospital. "In addition," Dr. Fehlings said, "these findings could result in a more aggressive clinical strategy for patients who may appear to have a severe SCI but may indeed have the capacity for substantial neurological recovery."

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FDA Orders Black Box Warning for Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents

ROCKVILLE, Md., May 23 -- The FDA today ordered black-box warnings for all gadolinium-based contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging, detailing an increased risk for nephrogenic systemic fibrosis with kidney-disease patients.

The warning alerts clinicians of possible severe kidney insufficiency in patients at risk for nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, a potentially fatal disease, who receive gadolinium-based agents. The boxed message also warns that the nephrogenic systemic fibrosis risk extends to patients with chronic liver disease including those just before or after liver transplantation.

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Medical, high-energy physicists collaborate to improve PET scans

Physicists are developing new electronics for identifying subatomic particles in high-energy accelerators that may also enable radiologists to detect cancer at an earlier, more curable stage.

"The electronics needs in medical imaging look very closely related to the needs we have in high-energy physics," said Henry Frisch, Professor in Physics at the University of Chicago. "Physics tends to advance by new capabilities in measurement, the same in radiology."

Radiologists, medical physicists and high-energy physicists share a desire to more precisely measure the velocity and location of subatomic particles, Frisch explained. A significant improvement in Positron Emission Tomography technology could mean the difference between life and death for some patients, said Chin-Tu Chen, Associate Professor in Radiology at the University of Chicago.

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MRI-enhancing agents need warning - U.S. FDA

WASHINGTON, May 23 (Reuters) - Contrast agents used to make magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scans easier to see should carry new, strong warnings, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday.

The warning -- a "black box" -- would alert physicians that patients with certain kidney and liver conditions are at risk for a potentially fatal skin disease called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, the agency said in a statement.

The condition triggers thickening of the skin, organs and other tissues that makes it difficult to move and can lead to broken bones, although the exact cause is unclear. There is no effective treatment.

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Functional MRI correlates brain activity with emotional response in autistic children

Functional MR scans have confirmed that levels of brain function are low or nonexistent in autistic patients viewing stimuli designed to provoke emotional activity, according to studies presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research held in early May in Seattle.

Research led by Dr. Susan Bookheimer, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles's Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior, and graduate psychology student Mari Davies gauged autistic children's reaction to direct-gaze and averted-gaze faces.

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MRI Robotic Biopsies Simplified by PneuStep

Engineers at the Johns Hopkins Urology Robotics Lab report the invention of a motor without metal or electricity that can safely power remote-controlled robotic medical devices used for cancer biopsies and therapies guided by magnetic resonance imaging. The motor that drives the devices can be so precisely controlled by computer that movements are steadier and more precise than a human hand.

"Lots of biopsies on organs such as the prostate are currently performed blind because the tumors are typically invisible to the imaging tools commonly used," says Dan Stoianovici, Ph.D., an associate professor of urology at Johns Hopkins and director of the robotics lab. "Our new MRI-safe motor and robot can target the tumors. This should increase accuracy in locating and collecting tissue samples, reduce diagnostic errors and also improve therapy."

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G250 PET characterizes clear-cell renal carcinoma

PET imaging using the iodine-124-labeled antibody called chimeric G250 (124I-cG250) can accurately identify clear-cell renal carcinoma, according to a study by researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Findings could lead to an improvement in the clinical management of patients with kidney tumors.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that approximately one person in 7500 in the U.S. will develop some type of renal cell carcinoma each year. A third of them will eventually die from the disease. About 90% of renal metastases, which carry the poorest prognosis, are clear-cell RCCs.

This prospective clinical trial is the first to show that PET with a radiolabeled antibody is sensitive and specific enough to identify this histologic subtype, said principal investigator Dr. Chaitanya Divgi, who is now chief of nuclear medicine and clinical molecular imaging at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Coronary CT angiography finds an affordable home

A year ago, research regarding 64-slice CT angiography focused on feasibility. Feasibility is no longer an issue. Rather, a wealth of evidence presented at the recent European Congress of Radiology attests to the fact that coronary CTA is a powerful and useful tool to evaluate patients suspected of coronary artery disease who are at intermediate risk. It is within this niche patient group-those who would otherwise undergo invasive catheter angiography-that coronary CTA is finding an affordable home. Researchers are also venturing outside this niche to determine where else cardiac CT might have value.

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Blueberry juice effective dye for MRIs

It's a trendy drink among health conscious people who like to pack a wallop of antioxidants while quenching their thirsts, but radiology experts have also latched on to blueberry juice as a drink to give patients before undergoing magnetic resonance imaging scans on their bile ducts.

According to research originally conducted in Japan, blueberry juice is effective as a contrast agent to improve, or delineate, the structures of the stomach, duodenum, small bowel, large bowel, pancreas and bile ducts. That's because blueberry juice is rich in manganese, a metal found in nature and an essential element in our diet.

"Normally, the fluid in the stomach is always in the way and degrades the image," said Wayne Patola, a supervisor in St Paul's Hospital MRI department in Vancouver, who introduced blueberry juice after attending radiology conferences where its benefits were being touted.

"Blueberry juice given orally will affect the way the stomach fluid behaves on MRI and effectively remove it from appearing on the image. This allows for better visualization of the bile ducts," he said.

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Medical scans zapping insurers

By M. William Salganik
Baltimore Sun

Danilo Espinola is a busy doctor who seldom sees a patient. Instead, he spends most of his time in a half-darkened room at Advanced Radiology's imaging center in Pikesville, peering at amazingly detailed scans on a computer screen as he searches for malignancies or other abnormalities.

Less than a decade ago, the technology - positron emission tomography - was primarily a research tool shunned by insurers. But once Medicare and private insurers decided to cover the diagnostic test, usage shot up.

In the past five years, the number of PET scans increased 400 percent, according to consulting firm IMV Limited

Now more than a million PET scans are done a year, at about $2,500 apiece. Espinola reads 20 to 25 scans in a typical day, a rate that would yield more than $1 million a year in billings.

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Study Uses MRI To Determine Features Of Osteoarthrosis

Abnormalities in the ligaments found on the outside of the knee (lateral collateral ligament complex or LCLC) are commonly seen on MRI in patients with knee osteoarthrosis (OA), according to a study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA.

The study consisted of 96 patients (53 women, 43 men), 51 with knee osteoarthrosis, and 44 patients with knee pain following an injury and no history of knee osteoarthrosis who underwent MRI. "The patients were graded on the severity of knee osteoarthrosis on radiographs and the severity of abnormalities of the LCLC components on MRI," said Yung-Hsin Chen, MD, of Johns Hopkins Hospital and lead author of the study.

The study showed that LCLC abnormalities were identified in 88% of the patients with OA compared to 12% of patients without OA. The study revealed that lateral compartment osteoarthrosis was significantly associated with abnormalities in the fibular collateral ligament.

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