MRIs May Damage Cochlear Implants

Tests show that certain MRI machines may demagnetize the magnets used in cochlear implants to couple external and implanted components of these hearing devices, according to a report in the December issue of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery.

Cochlear implants may be an option for those with severe hearing loss. It involves a surgical procedure in which a small electronic device is placed under the skin behind the ear and attached to a wire that stimulates the inner ear, allowing the recipient to hear useful sounds.

Cochlear implants also contain internal magnets used to connect an external processor with the surgically implanted components, Dr. Omid Majdani, of the Medical University of Hannover, Germany, and colleagues explain. These magnets can interact with other magnets, such as those found in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. MRIs exert strong magnetic fields that may induce voltages or temperatures that could damage the implant or harm the patient.

source: >Newsmax.com


New large bore MRI technology enhances imaging results, patient comfort

(Media-Newswire.com) - University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics recently installed an advanced magnetic resonance imaging ( MRI ) system that combines a larger and shorter bore ( opening ) for obese, claustrophobic and anxious patients, with the ability to capture high-quality diagnostic images.

The Siemens Medical Solutions MAGNETOM Espree is the world's first high-performance 1.5 Telsa Open Bore MRI. The magnet's patient-friendly design makes it easier for large patients and those with claustrophobia to have an MRI examination that produces the same outstanding image quality as with smaller closed bore MRI systems. Fewer exams will need to be interrupted or repeated.

"This technology increases our efficiency and patient convenience," said Wendy R.K. Smoker, M.D., UI professor of radiology and co-director of MRI. "It also makes innovative medical imaging technology used for detection, diagnosis and treatment planning of cancer, diabetes, heart and vascular disorders, and other diseases available to more patients."

Since two-thirds of American adults are overweight, the health care industry is challenged to accommodate these larger patients with imaging systems that were initially designed for people who weigh much less.

source: Media Newswire


First Imaging Agent Approved for Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) in the U.S.

LEXINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 22, 2008--EPIX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:EPIX), a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel therapeutics through the use of its proprietary and highly efficient in silico drug discovery platform, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved for marketing its novel blood pool magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) agent, Vasovist(R) (gadofosveset trisodium), to evaluate aortoiliac occlusive disease (AIOD) in adults with known or suspected peripheral vascular disease. AIOD occurs when iliac arteries become narrowed or blocked and may prevent the sufficient transport of oxygen and/or blood throughout the body.

Vasovist is the first contrast agent approved for marketing in the United States for use with MRA, a non-invasive modality for imaging blood vessels. In 2007, there were approximately 1.3 million MRA procedures performed in the United States using contrast agents not specifically approved for this procedure. MRA is a less invasive procedure than x-ray angiography, allowing for reduced patient discomfort and recuperation time and unlike x-ray angiography, MRA does not expose patients to ionizing radiation. Vasovist had previously been approved for marketing in 34 countries outside the United States based on data from four multi-center, Phase 3 clinical trials that showed that Vasovist's overall accuracy was similar to that of catheter-based x-ray angiography, as determined by blinded readings.

source: Epix Pharmaceuticals


MRI Brain Scans Accurate in Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease

Tampa, FL (Dec. 19, 2008) -- MRI scans that detect shrinkage in specific regions of the mid-brain attacked by Alzheimer’s disease accurately diagnose the neurodegenerative disease, even before symptoms interfere with daily function, a study by the Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) in Miami and Tampa found.

The study, reported earlier this month in the journal Neurology, adds to a growing body of evidence indicating MRI brain scans provide valuable diagnostic information about Alzheimer’s disease.

The findings are important in light of many new disease-modifying drugs in trials -- treatments that may prevent mild memory loss from advancing to full-blown dementia if administered early enough.

"We advocate, based on these findings, that the criteria for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease should include MRI scans,” said the study’s lead author Ranjan Duara, MD, medical director of the Wien Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders at Mount Sinai Medical Center who is affiliated with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and University of South Florida College of Medicine. “By incorporating MRIs into the assessment of patients with memory problems, early diagnosis can be standardized and done far more accurately.”

source: University of South Florida Press Release


MRI Pads Exceed Critical Fire Testing Requirements, Assuring Patient Safety

HAYWARD, CA, Dec 18, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- Patient Comfort Systems, Inc. announces that its MRI pads have passed and exceeded the stringent CAL TB-133 fire test standard. This independent testing is critical to assure patient safety. No other MRI pad manufacturers have publicly disclosed that their pads have passed this stringent new fire testing code.

Peter Rothschild, MD, CEO of Patient Comfort Systems, explains, "When the polyurethane foam core within the MRI pads burns, it can present more than just the obvious fire danger. These foam pads burn with great intensity releasing toxic gases into the room."

The CAL TB-133 standards were developed to provide realistic, practical testing to determine the risk of an uncontrolled fire resulting from bedding and table pad materials. These standards are strongly supported by the International Association of Fire Fighters, IAFF, and serve as the basis for uniform legislation and regulation regarding the combustible requirements of pads used in health care facilities including MRI centers.

source: MarketWatch


Alliance Imaging Announces Acquisition of Shared P.E.T. Imaging, LLC

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 16, 2008--Alliance Imaging, Inc. (NYSE:AIQ), a leading national provider of outpatient diagnostic imaging services and radiation therapy services, announced today that it has acquired Shared P.E.T. Imaging, LLC (SPI), a mobile and fixed-site provider of positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT), based in Canton, Ohio.

Paul S. Viviano, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "As Alliance continues to execute on our disciplined acquisition plan, I am very pleased to announce the addition of SPI and its fine team of patient care professionals to our team. Alliance believes that the expansion of PET/CT's critical role in cancer detection and related treatment planning will result in continued overall growth in patient procedures. As part of our plan to expand Alliance's strategic position as a national leader in PET/CT services, we are pleased to be able to move forward and combine our respective organizations in the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast United States.

source: Alliance Imaging


SensL enters PET/MRI brain imaging market

(Cork, Ireland, and San Jose, CA; 20 November, 2008) – SensL, an international low light sensing solutions provider, has announced sales of Silicon Photomultiplier technology to enable construction of two PET/MRI brain imaging systems. The sales are announced with two major international institutions: Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University, in Seoul, Korea and the Department of Radiology/Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford University in California, USA.

Both Samsung Medical Centre and Stanford University will integrate SensL's SPMArray (Position Sensitive / Multi-Anode Silicon Photomultiplier Array) into their PET/MRI systems. The SPMArray is the first commercially available, solid-state, large array detector based on silicon photomultiplier technology.

‘We are extremely excited about our entrance into this emerging market with such internationally recognized groups as Samsung Medical Center and Stanford University. PET/MRI is an emerging multi-modality technique with potential to improve the characterization of certain cancers as well as neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and enable advanced treatment monitoring.

source: SensL


If MRI shows signs of MS, will the disease develop?

ST. PAUL, Minn. – With more and more people having brain MRIs for various reasons, doctors are finding people whose scans show signs of multiple sclerosis (MS) even though they have no symptoms of the disease. A new study published in the December 10, 2008, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, found that a third of these people developed MS within an average of about five years.

The study involved 44 people who had brain scans for various reasons, such as migraine headaches or head trauma, that showed abnormalities similar to those that occur in MS. The researchers confirmed that the abnormalities were the same as in MS and ruled out other possible causes. Then the researchers monitored the participants to determine whether they developed the disease.

Within an average of 5.4 years, 30 percent of the participants had developed MS symptoms. The brain scans of an additional 29 percent of the people showed further abnormalities, but they continued to have no symptoms of the disease.

"More research is needed to fully understand the risk of developing MS for people with these brain abnormalities, but it appears that this condition may be a precursor to MS," said study author Darin T. Okuda, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco, the UCSF Multiple Sclerosis Center and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

source: EurekAlert

GE Healthcare Introduces Groundbreaking Medical Imaging Technologies for Improved Patient Care

NEW YORK, Dec 09, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- New Products Shipping Today to Healthcare Facilities Around the World:

-- Low-dose Discovery(TM) CT750 HD is the World's First High-Definition CT
-- Fast Discovery(TM) MR750 Improves Patient Experience
-- LOGIQ(R) E9 Enables Better Diagnosis and Treatment through Innovative Fusion Technology

GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Company (GE: General Electric Company , today announced the commercial availability of three imaging solutions for faster, gentler imaging, which will enable better patient care: the low-dose Discovery(TM) CT750 HD, the fast Discovery(TM) MR750, and the innovative fusion technology of the LOGIQ(R) E9. Doctors from leading hospitals joined patients whose lives have been affected by these technologies at a showcase today in New York City.

"GE has developed technologies that improve the entire patient experience, from early and more accurate diagnosis to better treatment and management of diseases," said John Rice, vice chair of GE and president and CEO of GE Technology Infrastructure. "The Discovery CT750 HD, Discovery MR750 and LOGIQ E9 are setting new technological standards in the early detection and diagnosis of many prevalent health issues. We are excited to bring these breakthrough innovations to help patients around the world."

source : GE Press Release


National Institutes of Health Installs Toshiba's Aquilion ONE Dynamic Volume CT System

TUSTIN, California — December 8, 2008 — Meeting the needs of today's healthcare demands for improving patient care and safety while lowering costs, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health (NIH) has installed the most advanced, lowest radiation CT system available — Toshiba's Aquilion® ONE, the world's first dynamic volume CT system.

As the nation's leading medical research agency, NIH plans to use Toshiba's Aquilion ONE dynamic volume CT system for research to improve patient outcomes with a study focusing on low-dose cardiac exams. Additional future studies using the Aquilion ONE could include examining coronary artery disease and myocardial perfusion.

Beyond lowering radiation dose, the Aquilion ONE's ability to image the entire organ and show real-time motion helps reduce diagnosis time from hours or days to minutes for patients suffering from life-threatening conditions. It also enables physicians to treat patients faster and more accurately than before, which will ultimately help lower healthcare costs.

source: Toshiba Medical


Toshiba Education Center Offers new Dynamic Volume CT and Breast MR Courses

CHICAGO — December 4, 2008 — Continuing to expand its educational offerings, Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. has created two new courses that will be taught at the Toshiba Education Center in Irvine, Calif. One course will provide an overview of dynamic volume CT using Toshiba's Aquilion® ONE while the other will focus on breast imaging using Toshiba's Vantage™ MR technology. Toshiba will be showcasing the Aquilion ONE CT system and the Vantage MR systems at this year's Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual meeting in Chicago, Nov. 30 – Dec. 5, 2008 (Booth #3429, South Hall).

"Toshiba continues to advance not only its technology, but also its educational offerings," said Sharon Yoon, director, Education and Sales Support, Toshiba. "Without quality, hands-on training, many clinicians will not be able to fully utilize these technological advances, which can directly impact the care provided to patients."

While using Toshiba's 320-detector row dynamic volume CT, physicians and technologists will be presented with the differences between traditional helical scanning and dynamic volume technology and its benefits regarding workflow, clinical pathways and patient comfort.

sourc: Toshiba Medical


Imaging in Living Color with Siemens Molecular CT

CHICAGO, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- First introduced at the European Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting in October, Siemens Biograph mCT hits the ground running, experiencing high demand in a time when the current economical situation demands maximum utilization of existing and new imaging equipment. Biograph mCT reaches the United States as a pioneer, not only in hybrid imaging, but as an integrated imaging and workflow concept. Siemens brings Biograph mCT to RSNA as the world's first integrated imaging device to offer routine, whole-body PET scanning in just five minutes with ultraHD-PET technology, Adaptive Spiral CT and patient friendly features, such as a large bore and small tunnel, which adds up to a smart imaging solution considering today's shrinking imaging budgets. The resulting utilities from this combination of advanced PET and CT technologies in one compact system will drive change in the way institutions think about integrated diagnostics.

"Since the introduction of molecular CT, we've seen a tremendous response from customers all around the world. Biograph mCT has already begun to change perceptions in the marketplace about integrated imaging devices that provide a better return on investment," said Michael Reitermann, chief executive officer, Molecular Imaging, Siemens Healthcare. "As the forerunner in integrated imaging solutions, Siemens is leading this change in perception and combining two modalities to provide incredible clinical value. We created Biograph mCT to serve the needs of both radiology and molecular imaging -- all while offering institutions cutting-edge technology, the greatest level of patient care and maximum return on investment."

source: Siemens


CT Colonography Offers One-Stop Screening for Cancer and Osteoporosis

CHICAGO — New research reveals that computed tomography (CT) colonography, also known as virtual colonoscopy, has the potential to screen for two diseases at once—colorectal cancer and osteoporosis, both of which commonly affect adults over age 50. Results of the study will be presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"With CT colonography, in addition to screening for colorectal cancer, we were able to identify patients with osteoporosis," said lead author Rizwan Aslam, M.B.Ch.B., assistant clinical professor of radiology at the University of California San Francisco.

CT colonography, an imaging study performed to detect pre-cancerous polyps in the large intestine, begins with an abdominal CT scan, which creates cross-sectional images of all structures in the abdomen including the spine. Computer software then arranges the CT images to create an interior or "fly-through" view of the colon.

source: RSNA


Coronary CTA is a Non-Invasive, Low Cost Alternative for Evaluating “Intermediate Risk” Patients, Even with Calcified Plaques

Coronary CTA offers a low cost, non-invasive alternative to conventional angiography for evaluating patients who are suspected of having coronary artery disease; true even if the patients have calcified coronary artery plaques, according to a study performed at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA.

The study included 31 patients who had one or more calcified coronary artery plaques that were discovered during coronary CTA. Calcified plaques in the arteries were graded as small, moderate or large. Initially the accuracy rate of determining the degree of stenosis caused by the larger calcified plaques was 67%. The study is ongoing and “now with further experience, the accuracy rate of determining the degree of stenosis with larger plaques is 72%,” said David C. Levin, MD, lead author of the study.

source: ARRS


MRI Shows New Types of Injuries in Young Gymnasts

CHICAGO — Adolescent gymnasts are developing a wide variety of arm, wrist and hand injuries that are beyond the scope of previously described gymnastic-related trauma, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"The broad constellation of recent injuries is unusual and might point to something new going on in gymnastics training that is affecting young athletes in different ways," said the study's lead author, Jerry Dwek, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of radiology at the University of California, San Diego and a partner of San Diego Imaging at Rady Children’s Hospital and Health Center.

Previous studies have reported on numerous injuries to the growing portion of adolescent gymnasts' bones. However, this study uncovered some injuries to the bones in the wrists and knuckles that have not been previously described. In addition, the researchers noted that these gymnasts had necrosis, or "early death," of the bones of their knuckles.

source: RSNA News Release