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.

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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.