Cumulative radiation exposure shows increased cancer risk for emergency department patients

According to a new study, patients are receiving estimated doses of radiation from medical diagnostic imaging studies, such as CT (or CAT) scans, that may be detrimental to their long term health, putting them at an increased risk of developing cancer. To date, emergency physicians have not been made aware of the cumulative amount of radiation that their patients receive. In fact they currently have no way to know or estimate any given patients cumulative dose. A new study hopes to quantify and further explore these concerns.

Led by Timothy B. Bullard, M.D., M.B.A of the Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC), the cross-sectional study examined the amount of ionizing radiation that a random selection of patients received over a five-year period at ORMC and Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. The study is the first to estimate the total cumulative radiation dosage delivered to a population from multiple diagnostic imaging modalities during a defined period of time.

source:Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News


MRI Scans Of Body's Natural Baking Soda Detects Cancer

Researchers in the UK have developed a new method to detect cancer early by using highly sensitive MRI scans to follow the chemical breakdown of the body's naturally occurring bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda).

The study is the work of scientists at the leading charity Cancer Research UK and other colleagues and is published in the current issue of Nature.

source: Medical News Today


Increased Screening May Better Predict Those At Higher Risk For Heart Disease

Adding noninvasive imaging to current risk-assessment protocols may identify more people who are at risk of developing heart disease, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

Researchers used data from the UT Southwestern-led Dallas Heart Study to determine whether using computed tomography (CT) to scan patients' hearts for calcium deposits and blockages could identify more people at high risk for heart disease and who could benefit from cholesterol-lowering therapy.

The recommendations by the Screening for Heart Attack Prevention and Education (SHAPE) task force are a proposed update to the current guidelines, were updated by the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP-ATP III) in 2004.

source: UT Southwestern


Health Protection Agency to study the health effects of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (UK)

The Chairman of the Health Protection Agency, Sir William Stewart today announced that the Agency’s Board had approved in principle the need for an epidemiological study of possible adverse health effects from high static field Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines.

Sir William said: “MRI scanning has some undoubted benefits in medicine, especially as an aid to accurate clinical diagnosis. However we need to bear in mind that the magnetic fields produced by the machines are quite substantial and that these fields are increasing in order to achieve improved clarity of image. The exposures to patients and medical staff from the magnetic fields can be high and there is a shortage of information on possible adverse long term health effects. The Agency’s Board therefore considers more research is needed in this area.”

source: Health Protection Agency


MDCT Can Detect Illegal “Dissolved” Drugs

The smuggling of dissolved drugs, especially cocaine, in bottled liquids can be decreased with the use of multidetector CT (MDCT) according to a recent collaborative study conducted by researchers at the Centre for Forensic Imaging, Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Bern and the Federal Customs Administration (FCA), in Bern, Switzerland.

The study initially consisted of MDCT scans of three wine bottles that contained cocaine solutions that were confiscated at the Swiss Border, said Silke Grabherr, MD, lead author of the study. Once the researchers conducted the scans of the three wine bottles, they did a simulated test using 12 wine bottles with six spiked with cocaine in various concentrations ranging from 10-120 grams. MDCT accurately detected the bottles with the dissolved cocaine because cocaine shows an increase of the X-Ray attenuation, said Dr. Grabherr.

source: ARRS


Invasive Methods Unnecessary for Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy Treatment Planning

Modern 3-D computed tomography (CT) is an effective method for locating the prostatic apex for radiation therapy treatment planning in prostate cancer patients because it eliminates the need for an invasive procedure and the related side effects, according to a study in the May 1 issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics.

Retrograde urethrography, which involves inserting a catheter into the male urethra to inject contrast, is the standard method used to identify the area of the prostate to be treated with radiation. However, this method is invasive and uncomfortable for patients and comes with risks of side effects, such as urethral injury and infection, as well as additional costs.

source: ASTRO.org


Targeting A Pathological Area Using MRI

ScienceDaily (May 19, 2008) — Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become a common tool in clinical diagnosis due to the use of contrast agents, which are like colorants, enabling the contrast between healthy tissue and diseased tissue to be increased. However, the agents currently used clinically do not allow the identification of particular pathologies or of the affected area of the body. The recent work of two CNRS teams from Orleans and Gif-sur-Yvette (Orleans' Centre de biophysique moléculaire and the Institut de chimie des substances naturelles in Gif-sur-Yvette) has brought hope in this field.

source: ScienceDaily


Diagnostic Accuracy May Not Be Improved By PET Imaging In Early Head And Neck Cancer

Positron emission tomography with a radioactive tracer (18F-FDG PET) may not improve the detection of small metastases in patients with head and neck cancer who have no clinical evidence of disease in neighboring lymph nodes, according to a meta-analysis published online May 13 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

A key prognostic factor for head and neck squamous cell cancer patients is whether their disease has spread to the nearby lymph nodes. Unfortunately, some patients who appear clinically to be free of such metastases, referred to as cN0, actually have small metastases. Clinicians use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), commuted tomography (CT), and FDG-PET to try to detect these lesions, but strong data supporting the use of FDG-PET are lacking.

source: Medical News Today


New MRI Technique Developed at UT Southwestern Detects Subtle but Serious Brain Injury

(HealthNewsDigest.com) - DALLAS – May 12, 2008 – A new technique for analyzing magnetic resonance imaging data, developed by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center, can reveal serious brain injury missed by current tests and help predict a patient’s degree of recovery.

In brain injuries sustained when the head suddenly stops moving – during a motor vehicle accident, for instance – the force can shear and damage nerve cells. This kind of injury does not show up on computerized tomography scans, the researchers said, and magnetic resonance imaging does not yet reliably detect this type of injury.

“This is a new way of measuring a common injury that has been overlooked,” said Dr. Ramón Díaz-Arrastia, professor of neurology and senior author of the paper, which appears in the May issue of the journal Archives of Neurology.

source: Health News Digest


Ultrasound First, Not CT, For Diagnosing Suspected Acute Appendicitis

Color Doppler ultrasound, not CT, should be the first imaging examination for adult patients with suspected acute appendicitis, a new study emphasizes.

The study of 420 medical records found that sonography correctly denied acute appendicitis in 303 of 312 adult patients, meaning it had a 97% specificity rate, said Diana Gaitini, MD, of Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, Israel. "When the patient does not have acute appendicitis, the negative result of the color Doppler ultrasound examination is highly confident," she said. On the other hand, ultrasound's sensitivity rate was 74%, meaning it missed the diagnosis in 23 of 89 patients, Dr. Gaitini said. Ultrasound was inconclusive in 17 patients.

source: MedicalNewsToday


Warming up for Magnetic Resonance Imaging

BERKELEY, CA — Standard magnetic resonance imaging, MRI, is a superb diagnostic tool but one that suffers from low sensitivity, requiring patients to remain motionless for long periods of time inside noisy, claustrophobic machines. A promising new MRI method, much faster, more selective — able to distinguish even among specific target molecules — and many thousands of times more sensitive, has now been developed in the laboratory by researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley.

The key to the new technique is called "temperature-controlled molecular depolarization gates." It builds on a series of previous developments in MRI and the closely related field of nuclear magnetic resonance, NMR (which instead of an image yields a spectrum of molecular information), by members of the laboratories of Alexander Pines and David Wemmer at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley.

source: Berkeley Lab


Nevada Imaging Centers Installs the First Toshiba Aquilion ONE Dynamic Volume CT in the Western United States

LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As a testament to the growing demand to improve patient care while reducing healthcare costs, Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. has installed the first Aquilion ONE™ dynamic volume CT system in the Western U.S. at Nevada Imaging Centers in Las Vegas.

“As the only dynamic volume CT system in the world, the Aquilion ONE’s ability to image an entire organ and show function means faster, more accurate diagnosis, better patient outcomes and ultimately lower healthcare costs,” explained Dr. William W. Orrison, chief of Neuroradiology, Nevada Imaging Centers. “Nevada Imaging Centers is committed to best-in-class solutions for its thousands of patients and is thrilled to be the first site in the Western U.S. to offer this truly revolutionary technology.”

Toshiba’s Aquilion ONE dynamic volume CT system, which was first unveiled less than six months ago at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual meeting, utilizes 320 ultra high resolution detector rows (0.5 mm in width) to image an entire organ in a single gantry rotation.

source: Business Wire


GE Healthcare Introduces New 3.OT MR Scanner

TORONTO, MAY 5, 2008 – GE Healthcare today announced it has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the company’s new 3.0T magnetic resonance (MR) scanner, the latest addition to GE’s Signa family of MR systems. The new Signa® MR750 3.0T was introduced at the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine in Toronto, May 3-9.

Equipped with the industry’s most powerful gradients, easy-to-use workflow features and the company’s advanced Thermal Management System, the Signa MR750 delivers up to 60 percent additional anatomical coverage and resolution unit per time. The system also allows for up to five times the imaging performance over previous generations, increasing the freedom for advanced application development, including: a routine liver exam in 15 minutes and a full breast exam in only two sequences.

source: General Electric Medical


Healthcare Providers Demand Feedback About Computed Radiography

KLAS investigates single-cassette, also known as single-plate, computed radiography (CR) in this groundbreaking study, as a result of healthcare provider demand for feedback on direct user experiences with CR systems and vendors.

CR equipment is a sizable market as a result of PACS technology and the possible prohibitive costs associated with digital radiography (DR) systems. Nearly 60 percent of the images acquired in hospitals come from x-ray. Converting x-ray images to digital media for image capture and storage is a way for radiology departments and imaging centers to enhance workflow efficiency and control long-term cost.

source: Medical News Today


Sedation with Oral Chloral Hydrate in Children Undergoing MRI Scanning


In the absence of a general anaesthetic facility for MRI scanning in children, we introduced a sedation protocol using chloral hydrate. Our aim was to evaluate the success and safety of our protocol. This was a retrospective study enrolling 36 children over a 7 month period. The overall success rate was 86% with no child experiencing respiratory complications. In those less than one year, the success rate was 100%, aged 1-5 years 91%, with 50% successful at 80mg/kg and 50% at 100mg/kg dose. For children greater than 5 years of age the success rate was 70%. 92% of developmentally normal children and 83% of developmentally delayed children were successfully sedated. Success rates were poorer in children older than 5 years and in those with developmental delay. Our findings suggest that this protocol could be safely used in units where general anaesthetic facilities are unavailable for MRI and for other radiological investigations.

source: Irish Medical Journal