Local Trial Supports CT Lung Cancer Screening in High-Risk Population

Cincinnati—Computed tomography (CT) scans are an effective lung cancer screening tool for a high-risk patient population, if done with a strict clinical protocol in place and with the input of a multidisciplinary care team, according to University of Cincinnati (UC) research.

Led by Sandra Starnes, MD, the Cincinnati-based clinical trial was conducted to determine if lung cancer screening could be done effectively among a high-risk population living in a geographic area with rates of histoplasmosis three times higher than the national average.

Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection that enters the body through the lungs and increases the likelihood of lung nodules. These irregular sections of lung tissue can look like lung cancer on CT and lead to unnecessary biopsies.

"Despite having a 60 percent nodule rate, we were able to avoid doing benign biopsies and not miss any lung cancer diagnoses if the protocol was strictly followed. No one was diagnosed at a stage where the lung tumor could not be surgically removed,” says Starnes, director of thoracic surgery at the UC College of Medicine and a surgeon with UC Health.

Starnes and her colleagues report their findings online ahead of print in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

source: University of Cincinnati


Israeli Hospital Equips Medical Staff with iPads to View Imaging Studies

BNEI BRAK, Israel, December 21, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center (MYMC) is the first Israeli hospital to give iPad technology to its doctors, for use both on and off-site. Medical staff can now check patient records, test results, hi-resolution X-rays and CT scans, report on patient progress and plan ongoing treatment using the latest hand-held computers.

MYMC has embraced this latest and most desirable technology by investing in the latest iPad version 4.2, customized for use in Hebrew. This allows clinicians instant touch-screen access to patient records and medical information via secure password-protected internet. MYMC's IT team have programmed the Apple iPad to interact with the Microsoft Chameleon program used by the hospital.

Dr. Yoram Liwer, CEO of Mayanei Hayeshua, explains: "The picture quality on the iPad screen enables our doctors to check high-resolution x-ray and scan images, either on the wards or from outside the hospital, and to diagnose and prescribe treatment immediately at any time. The iPad is recognized today as a leading medical tool, bringing many benefits to patients and hospital staff.

source: PR Newswire


World-first at Charité: Birth in Open MRI

An interdisciplinary team of scientists from the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin have achieved a world-first, the birth of a child in an “open” MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner that allows a mother-to-be to fit fully into the machine. Through the cooperation of the obstetrician Dr. Christan Bamberg, the radiologist Dr. Ulf Teichgräber and the engineer and project manager Felix Güttler, unique images of the baby inside the mother and the child's movements in the birth canal up to the point of the exit of the head were obtained. The birth that took place in the scanner went smoothly and both mother and baby were in good health.

The joint project was a two-year research and development project of the radiological technically-oriented working group on “open high-field MRI". The team built a special “open MRI” scanner, a new type of machine whose open structure had the necessary space for the mother to give birth. One of the innovations of this new system was the creation of a new fetal monitoring system. This allowed the monitoring of the child's heartbeat on MRI during the birth process. The open high-field MRI (Philips Panorama HFO) is a novel device whose design allows easy access to mother and child enabling the researchers to study in greater detail how the baby moves through the mother’s pelvis and down the birth canal.

source: Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin


CT Best at Uncovering Drug Mule Payload

CHICAGO — According to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), the best way to detect cocaine in the body of a human drug courier, known as a mule, is through computed tomography (CT).

"Cocaine from South America is making its way to Europe through Africa," said Patricia Flach, M.D., a radiologist at University Hospital of Berne and Institute of Forensic Medicine of Berne in Switzerland. "From Africa, drug mules most commonly try to enter the European Union and Switzerland."

When legal authorities suspect an individual of being a drug mule, they often turn to radiologists to help quickly detect the presence of cocaine concealed in the body. Cocaine containers, which may be swallowed or inserted in the vagina or rectum, can be as large as a banana or as small as a blueberry.

"In these cases it is important for us to know that we have identified all the drug containers in a body, both for legal purposes and for the health of the patient," Dr. Flach said. "However, there was no research telling us which imaging modality was best in detecting cocaine containers in the stomach, intestines or other body orifices."

Dr. Flach and colleagues analyzed images from 89 exams performed on 50 suspected drug mules over a three-year period at University Hospital. The study group included 45 men and five women between the ages of 16 and 45. Forty-three of the suspects were ultimately identified as drug mules.

Of the imaging exams conducted, 27 were CT, 50 were digital x-ray and 12 were low-dose linear slit digital radiography (LSDR), an extremely fast, high-resolution, full-body x-ray system primarily used for trauma patients. The radiologic findings were compared with a written record of the drug containers recovered from the feces of suspects.

"As we expected, CT imaging allowed us to see all the drug containers, especially when we knew what to look for," Dr. Flach said.

source: RSNA.org


GE Healthcare Expands InSite OnWatch Capabilities for MRI Systems, Helping Enable Greater Efficiencies and Improving Customer Experience

WAUKESHA, WI – December 16, 2010 – GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric (NYSE: GE), is expanding InSite™ OnWatch capabilities, a feature of GE’s AssurePoint™ Services portfolio for MRI systems.

Unplanned downtime from clinical equipment can negatively affect virtually every aspect of care delivery — from patient care to staff productivity and cost control. InSite OnWatch, available only with GE’s AssurePoint Rapid and AssurePoint Performance service offerings (US and Canada only), can remotely resolve performance issues and forecast maintenance needs to reduce unplanned downtime — improving efficiencies and helping to lower the cost of care. InSite OnWatch MR capabilities have now been expanded to forecast maintenance needs for coils and heat exchange system issues. These new indications supplement the magnet monitoring activities that GE has been performing for several years.

“The expansion of InSite OnWatch for GE’s leading AssurePoint Service platform helps minimize the risk of having to reschedule patients and allows customers to plan required maintenance around their schedule, minimizing unplanned downtime,” said Mike Swinford, Vice President and GM, Americas Service. “Enhancing GE’s InSite OnWatch capabilities for MR systems will further improve the speed and flexibility of our services — providing exceptional service to improve system workflow and overall patient care.”

source: GE Medical


Fewer Guessing Games for Lung Cancer Patients

Reston, Va. — A study published in the December issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine identified positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) scans as a potentially useful tool for predicting local recurrence in lung cancer patients treated with radiofrequency ablation (RFA). RFA, which uses localized thermal energy to kill cancer cells, is increasingly used as an alternative treatment for patients unable to undergo surgery or other therapies to treat lung cancer.

“This study reinforces the utility of 18F-FDG-PET imaging in cancer detection and follow-up while also providing new insight into factors that can be used for earlier prediction of recurrence after radiofrequency ablation of lung tumors,” said Amit Singnurkar, M.D., FRCPC, assistant professor of radiology and medicine at McMaster University and lead author of the study “18F-FDG PET/CT for the Prediction and Detection of Local Recurrence After Radiofrequency Ablation of Malignant Lung Lesions.” Dr. Singnurkar was previously a nuclear oncology fellow at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where the majority of the study was conducted.

The five-year study followed 68 patients with 94 pulmonary lesions, including metastases and primary lung cancers. By reviewing 18F-FDG PET/CT scans performed before and after RFA, researchers were able to determine several indicators that could help predict local recurrence.

Among pre-RFA scans, lesion size and type of tumor (primary or metastases) were factors in determining potential for local recurrence. Standardized uptake value (glucose metabolic activity) was also a factor in pre-RFA scans, although not independent of lesion size. PET/CT scans conducted after RFA indicated that 18F-FDG uptake patterns, size of ablation margins and standardized uptake value were parameters that could predict the likelihood of recurrence.

source: SNM


Rcadia COR Analyzer System Safely Rules Out Coronary Artery Disease in Main Coronary Arteries and Branch Vessels

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital study presented at RSNA Annual Meeting
NEWTON, Mass., Dec. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Physicians at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital reported today on results of a study demonstrating the potential for fully automated interpretation of coronary CT angiography (cCTA) by Rcadia's COR Analyzer® System to safely rule out coronary artery disease (CAD) in the major coronary arteries as well as branch vessels. The study was presented in Chicago at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting.

"The emergence of cCTA in detecting CAD is creating a growing need for new methods to facilitate study analysis," said Ethan Halpern, MD, Associate Professor in the Dept. of Radiology at the University's Jefferson Medical College and the study's principal investigator. "The results of the study, performed on 207 cases, show that automated interpretation of cCTA has a high negative predictive value for the absence of coronary disease and demonstrate its potential as an effective preliminary analysis tool to triage cases for final interpretation."

The COR Analyzer® System is a unique clinical decision support tool that performs fully automatic analysis of Coronary CT Angiography (cCTA) studies. The system, which rapidly identifies the presence of significant (50 percent and over) stenosis, is designed to accelerate triage in the emergency department. It assists in reducing unnecessary admissions by ruling out CAD as a cause of chest pain and shortens time to treatment of suspected CAD patients. In the radiology and cardiology department settings, the immediate indication of suspected significant CAD provided by the COR Analyzer, allows workflow optimization and prioritization of reading sequence

source: PR Newswire


DataPhysics Research Launches CaseReader Software -- Slashing the Time in Half for CT, PET-CT and MRI Interpretation and Reporting

SAN RAMON, CA--(Marketwire - December 6, 2010) - DataPhysics Research Inc. (DPR), a developer of advanced diagnostic imaging solutions, today introduced CaseReader™, a next-generation intelligent post-processing software solution that dramatically improves how CT, PET-CT and MRI image data is organized, managed, analyzed and reported. CaseReader deals rapidly with vast amounts of 2D image data, produces volumetric 3D images that help speed diagnosis, and radically streamlines the entire review and reporting workflow process. DataPhysics Research launched its product with a presentation it was invited to make at the Radiological Society of North American (RSNA) Conference 2010, held Nov. 28-Dec. 3 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The research and development efforts of DataPhysics Research are supported by a two-year grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) through its Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project program. These grants benefit projects with the potential to reduce the long-term growth of health care costs; to create and sustain high-quality, high-paying U.S. jobs; and to advance U.S. competitiveness in the life, biological and medical sciences.

source: MarketWire


GE Healthcare Showcases Latest Advancements in CT Dose Reduction at RSNA

CHICAGO, Nov 30, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- For decades GE Healthcare has invested in leading, state of the art technology for significantly lowering dose in computed tomography (CT) procedures. At the 96TH annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago, GE Healthcare is showcasing some of its latest CT innovations that provide dose-reducing options to customers to help ensure better diagnoses.

GE Healthcare's exclusive ASiR (adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction) low dose reconstruction technology, available on the GE Discovery(TM) CT750 HD and LightSpeed VCT, can reduce dose by up to 40-50% while maintaining image quality and can be implemented as a cost-effective upgrade for existing GE LightSpeed VCT customers. The technology can be used on both helical and axial scans to reduce dose and maintain image quality for patients of all ages.

ASiR, in concert with GE's SnapShot Pulse technology, further helps physicians to reduce dose cardiac imaging by more than 83%. ASiR is now routinely used with over 600 scanners worldwide, benefiting more than 15,000 patients per day on well over three million exams to date.

"I am astounded at how sharp the ASiR images are and how low the noise level is. This is very important, considering the significant dose savings that can be achieved with it,” noted Richard Kane MD, Director of Cardiovascular & Thoracic Radiology, Saint Francis Hospital, Evanston, IL.

source: GE Healthcare


Siemens FAST CARE Sets New Standards for Dose Reduction and Efficiency of Patient Care

Malvern, Pa., November 23, 2010 – FAST CARE from Siemens Healthcare is the new technology platform for computed tomography (CT) scanners, which helps hospital staffs to perform CT examinations faster and more efficiently than before, as well as keeping the dose as low as possible. The FAST CARE applications simplify workflows during scanning and in the preparation of image reconstructions. Patients benefit from lower radiation doses and shorter examination times as the system automates many operating procedures, suggests parameter settings for image quality and dose reduction and standardizes processes, which makes results readily reproducible. These enhancements help CT operators and service providers improve their productivity and improve consistency of image quality and dose level.

FAST CARE will be available on the SOMATOM® Definition AS scanners in March 2011 and on the SOMATOM Definition Flash scanners in May 2011. CT scanners from the SOMATOM Definition product family that are already on the market can be upgraded to the new platform. The FAST CARE platform will be available on all Definition AS configurations from entry level 20-slice to a premium 128-slice AS+. Most importantly, the 64-slice SOMATOM Definition AS with FAST CARE will be field-upgradeable to AS+ FAST CARE, making it the only upgradeable 64-slice scanner on the market.

source: Siemens


Segasist Technologies receives funding from The Health Technology Exchange (HTX) towards support of clinical validation of its Prostate MRI software

TORONTO, Nov. 26 /PRNewswire/ - Segasist Technologies, a Canadian software company developing contouring productivity tools for medical imaging, has today announced the receipt of funding from The Health Technology Exchange (HTX) towards support of clinical validation of its software, to be conducted at the Lawson Health Research Institute and London Health Sciences Centre (London, Ontario). Experts from Sunnybrook Research Institute and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre will also participate in the validation process by providing input in the form of gold standard contours.

Segasist PMR-R is a software tool developed for the purpose of processing Magnetic Resonance Images (MRI) of the prostate. Version 1.0, released on May 17, 2010, was created to assist researchers presently developing a role for MRI in diagnosis, tracking and treatment of prostate cancer. Version 1.1 released on August 24, 2010, following extensive internal validation, continues to assist prostate MRI researchers with a variety of improvements to the previous version. Segasist Technologies will be releasing version 2.0 of the software at RSNA 2010.

The funding received from HTX will augment grants from other sources to enable a pre-calibrated version of Segasist PMR-R to be validated with the ultimate goal of releasing Segasist PMR-C for clinical use following regulatory approval.

source: Segasist


Siemens Unveils Biograph mMR Whole-Body Integrated MR-PET System Capable of Simultaneous Data Acquisition

MALVERN, Pa., Nov. 19, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- At the 96th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), November 28 - December 2 in Chicago, Siemens Healthcare (Booth #822, East Building/Lakeside Center, Hall D) will unveil the Biograph™ mMR*, the world's first integrated whole-body molecular Magnetic Resonance (MR) system with simultaneous data acquisition technology, currently undergoing clinical use testing. This revolutionary system comprises an MR scanner and an integrated Positron Emission Tomography (PET) detection system with an architecture that performs as one. In the new 3-Tesla hybrid system, Siemens developers have succeeded for the first time in simultaneously capturing MR and PET data with a whole-body system. The Biograph mMR system has been installed at the University Hospital "Klinikum rechts der Isar" of the Munich Technical University in Germany.

"Together with our partner Siemens, we are entering a new dimension in diagnostic imaging today," says Prof. Dr. Markus Schwaiger, director of the Clinic for Nuclear Medicine at the University Hospital. "We've initiated clinical use testing of Biograph mMR in an effort to diagnose diseases at a very early stage to see the progression of disease and to use that information to develop a therapy plan precisely focused on the respective patient. Furthermore, we plan to use the system for cancer follow-up in the long run, by reducing radiation exposure by the use of the system."

With the simultaneous acquisition of MR and PET data, this system is designed to provide new opportunities for imaging. While MR provides exquisite morphological and functional details in human tissue, PET goes further to investigate the human body at the level of cellular activity and metabolism. The innovative system has the potential to be a particularly valuable tool for identifying neurological, oncological and cardiac conditions of disease and in supporting the planning of appropriate therapies. Since MRI does not emit ionizing radiation, Biograph mMR may provide an added benefit with lower-dose imaging.

source: Siemens Medical


Personalized Protocol Contrast-Dosing Software Increases Diagnostic Quality CT Pulmonary Angiography Studies

WARRENDALE, Pa., November 16, 2010 – MEDRAD will offer RSNA* attendees hands-on demonstrations of personalized-protocol software that individualizes CT Pulmonary Angiography (CTPA) contrast dosing, and has proven to increase the percentage of diagnostic-quality studies to rule out Pulmonary Embolism (PE) when compared to the institution’s standard protocol1** -- potentially obviating the need to rescan the patient.2 Diagnosis with a high degree of certainty is critical to the safety of patients with suspected PE, yet can be inhibited by imaging complexities associated with these studies. PE, a blockage of the pulmonary artery or one of its branches due to a blood clot or other thrombus, results in as many as 50,000 deaths a year,1 most of which occur in the first few hours.

MEDRAD’s P3T® PA (Pulmonary Angiography) software enables increased diagnostic quality studies by fitting into the established CTPA workflow and making consistent administration of personalized dosing practical. The only contrast-dosing solution of its kind, the clinically validated P3T algorithm tailors each patient’s contrast protocol based on technologists’ touch-screen responses to unique clinical concerns, study requirements, and the scanning equipment used.

“Achieving a diagnostic CT image for Pulmonary Embolism, without limitations, helps the hospital and emergency department in a number of important ways -- with efficiency, patient care, and cost savings,” says Joan Lacomis M.D., Clinical Professor Radiology, The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

source: Medrad


Toshiba Introduces 32 Element Coils for its Vantage Titan MR System

New Coils Deliver Superior Imaging During Advanced Applications

TUSTIN, Calif., Nov. 9, 2010 – To enhance image quality and improve the speed of MR exams, Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. introduces its all-new 32 element cardiac and head coils (works-in-progress) for its Vantage TitanTM product line. Available on both the Vantage Titan 1.5T MR and the 510k pending Vantage Titan 3T MR, the 32 element coils improve spatial and temporal resolution for advanced cardiac and neuro imaging.

Particularly suited for cardiac imaging, the 32 element cardiac coil allows higher signal-to-noise ratio and improves image quality to enable more accurate cardiac diagnoses. The new coil also significantly reduces exam time by allowing higher SPEEDER factors, which can increase imaging department throughput as well as limit the time patients spend in the system. In addition to faster exams, patients also benefit during cardiac procedures because the breath hold times required are shorter. These benefits improve image quality and patient compliance, and reduce the anxiety often associated with MR imaging.

For patients who undergo neuro MR exams, Toshiba’s 32 element head coil not only can improve image quality and decrease exam time, but it also helps physicians acquire the best possible information for diagnosis and treatment. The 32 element coil allows for faster SPEEDER factors and high resolution imaging.

The new 32 element cardiac and head coils build upon the industry leading Vantage Atlas® integrated coil system, which eliminates the need to reposition patients during exams by integrating the coils into the table, creating a faster and more comfortable exam.

source: Toshiba Medical


Toshiba Presents Low-Dose Myocardial Perfusion Imaging

Toshiba Medical Systems recently presented "Low-Dose Myocardial Perfusion Imaging" and an update on the CORE320 Multicenter Trial at the recent European Society of Cardiology Congress held in Stockholm

Myocardial Perfusion
It is now possible to perform a comprehensive cardiac functional and morphological analysis in just one, low-dose examination using Toshiba’s Aquilion ONE. This technology can reduce the need to perform multiple examinations using different modalities, a true economic advantage and valuable contribution in cardiac healthcare.

Until now, CT cardiac imaging has been hampered when quantifying cardiac tissue functionality caused by obstructed coronaries and/or infarcts. In order to visualise the entire heart, other scanners need to move the patient, causing undesired, time-delayed, contrast distribution over the heart. The unique 16cm z-axis coverage of the Aquilion ONE, allows scanning of the heart at a single moment in time, resulting in temporal homogeneous contrast distribution.

Myocardial Perfusion is interpreted by comparing rest and stress data. The rest scan is usually performed using a low-dose, prospective CT angiography protocol. Pending body mass index and heart-rate, sub-mSv protocols may be applied. After administration of a pharmacological stress agent, a low-dose stress scan is performed.

source: Toshiba Medical


Siemens Celebrates 1,000th Installation of SOMATOM Definition AS CT Scanner at UNC

Malvern, Pa., November 2, 2010 – Siemens Healthcare celebrates a milestone of its SOMATOM® Definition AS CT scanner with the 1,000th system installation at the UNC Health Care in Chapel Hill, N.C. The SOMATOM Definition AS is the world’s first adaptive scanner. The system intelligently adapts to virtually any patient, adapts for complete dose protection, adapts for new dimensions, and adapts to the user’s space. UNC installed the Definition AS+, which is the 128-slice configuration of the scanner.

“We are proud to be the 1,000th installation of this cutting-edge CT scanner, which will help us further advance care for our local community, as well as for the citizens of North Carolina. The selection of the Definition AS+ was driven by our commitment to offer low-dose CT in a comfortable patient environment. For example, the Adaptive Dose Shield application eliminates unnecessary radiation while the 78cm gantry opening offers more room and more comfort for our patents,” said Todd Smiley, director of Radiology, UNC Health Care.

The SOMATOM Definition AS provides tremendous benefit with the Adaptive Dose Shield technology, helping to eliminate unnecessary over-radiation. Siemens’ unique Adaptive Dose Shield addresses the dose reduction issue by dynamically blocking the unnecessary dose before and after the spiral scan, ensuring that the only dose applied to the patient is dose that is clinically relevant.

source: Siemens


Dramatic rise in MRI and CT use in ERs raises questions

A dramatic increase in the use of medical imaging in emergency departments when seeing patients with injuries hasn’t paid off with an equal rise in diagnosing life-threatening conditions or follow-up hospital admissions, a team of Johns Hopkins researchers concludes in a study published in the Oct. 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The research group, led by Frederick Kofi Korley, an emergency physician and assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, reviewed emergency department data collected nationally over a 10-year period, 1998 to 2007. The Johns Hopkins team found that patients with injury-related conditions were three times more likely to get a computerized tomography or magnetic resonance imaging scan in 2007 than they were in 1998.

During the same 10-year period, the Johns Hopkins team found that diagnosis of life-threatening conditions, such as a cervical spine fracture or liver laceration, rose only slightly. There was virtually no change in the proportion of hospital admissions for patients seen in emergency departments for injury-related conditions in the same time span.

source: Johns Hopkins University


PETNET Solutions Announces Imaging Biomarker Production Capabilities in Madrid

Knoxville, Tenn., October 11, 2010 – As part of its global expansion, Siemens PETNET Solutions, Spain Operations announced today the opening of its newest imaging biomarker production facility in Madrid, Spain.

Since receiving its GMP license in May 2010 and its market authorization in July 2010 to produce and distribute FDG in Spain, the facility has been preparing to open. Siemens has installed two Eclipse cyclotrons at the site. PETNET Solutions’ recent and significant investments to build radiopharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution capabilities in areas such as Madrid support its own global growth strategy as well as the global adoption of PET/CT imaging.

“The opening of the Madrid facility reaffirms our commitment to international growth,” says Ian Turner, chief executive officer of PETNET Solutions, Inc. “Supporting the worldwide adoption of PET/CT imaging with radiopharmaceutical manufacture and distribution is key to making the power of molecular imaging and personalized medicine accessible globally.”

PETNET Solutions operates the largest network of PET radiopharmaceutical production facilities with 55 production and distribution centers worldwide.

source: Siemens Medical


Doctors Urged to Minimize CT Scans in Children

A CT scan can mean the difference between an accurate and a wrong diagnosis, timely and delayed treatment and, in some cases, life and death. But because CT scans and other tests that use X-ray technology expose the body to often large doses of radiation, their unnecessary, repeated and excessive use may increase cancer risk, especially in children.

Radiologists from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and elsewhere are sounding the alarm and urging judicious use of radiation-based imaging in children. Some 7 million CT scans are performed in children every year in the United States, many of them avoidable, the doctors say.

“CT scans save lives and have revolutionized medical diagnostics, but as physicians, we should remind ourselves that every CT scan we order now stays with a child for a lifetime,” said pediatric radiologist Melissa Spevak, M.D., during a recent presentation at Hopkins, the first of several she is giving to help educate fellow physicians, nurses and radiology technicians about ways to reduce radiation exposure in children. Her efforts are inspired by the “Image Gently” campaign of the Society for Pediatric Radiology and the Alliance for Safety in Pediatric Imaging.

Not only are children’s growing tissues and rapidly dividing cells more vulnerable to the effects of radiation, but exposure to radiation at an earlier age gives cancerous mutations that much more time to develop into full-blown disease, Spevak says. And because of the difference in body size, a single CT scan can deliver a much higher dose of radiation to a child than to an adult.

source: Johns Hopkins Cgildrens Center


MRI Could Be Used For Routine Surveillance Of Great Vessel Stents

Researchers have found that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be sufficient for the routine surveillance of some great vessel (primary blood vessels [e.g., aorta and vena cavae]) stents that are commonly used to treat congenital heart defects (a defect in the structure of the heart and great vessels that is present at birth) in children and young adults, according to a study in the October issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (http://www.ajronline.org). MRI is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

"Computed tomography (CT) is regarded as the best method for follow-up of endovascular stents. However, there are concerns regarding the long-term health effects of ionizing radiation exposure," said Andrew M. Taylor, MD, lead author of the study. "Conventional angiography can be used to image stents; however, it is not suitable for routine surveillance because of the invasive nature of the procedure," said Taylor.

The study, performed at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, included three contemporary great vessel stent materials (nitinol, platinum-iridium and stainless steel) that were implanted into an aorta model and imaged with conventional angiography, ten different MRI sequences and CT. "Study results showed that the diagnostic accuracy of conventional angiography and CT was high for all stents and MRI visualization of the stent depended on the type of stent and the sequence used," said Taylor.

source: ARRS


FDA Drug Safety Communication: New warnings for using gadolinium-based contrast agents in patients with kidney dysfunction

[09-09-2010] The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requiring changes in the drug label for gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) to minimize the risk of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF), a rare, but serious, condition associated with the use of GBCAs in certain patients with kidney dysfunction. GBCAs are intravenous drugs used in diagnostic imaging procedures to enhance the quality of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). (See Approved Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents below).

These label changes are intended to help ensure these drugs are used appropriately, and that patients at risk for NSF who receive GBCAs are actively monitored for the development of NSF. Symptoms of NSF include scaling, hardening and tightening of the skin; red or dark patches on the skin; and stiffness. NSF can also cause fibrosis of internal organs which may lead to death. There is no effective treatment for NSF.

NSF has not been reported in patients with normal kidney function. Patients at greatest risk for developing NSF after receiving GBCAs are those with impaired elimination of the drug, including patients with acute kidney injury (AKI) or chronic, severe kidney disease (with a glomerular filtration rate or GFR < 30 mL/min/1.73m2). Higher than recommended doses or repeat doses of GBCAs also appear to increase the risk for NSF.

source: FDA


Toshiba Installs 1,000th MR System Worldwide

TUSTIN, Calif., Aug. 30, 2010 – Diagnostic imaging leader Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. has installed its 1,000th MR system worldwide. Kosair Children’s Medical Center – Brownsboro, the only pediatric outpatient facility of its type in Kentucky, is the site of Toshiba’s milestone installation. The new facility, dedicated to the care of children, is located in the eastern suburbs of Louisville, Ky., and is the newest addition to Kosair Children’s Hospital and the Norton Healthcare Network.

As one of the only pediatric outpatient centers in the Kentucky area, Kosair Children’s Medical Center – Brownsboro will use the Toshiba Vantage Atlas® MR for general radiology imaging, including both cardiac and neuro imaging, for its pediatric population. The Vantage Atlas MR is an ideal system for a pediatric facility because it offers several patient-friendly features, including Toshiba’s patented PianissimoTM technology, which reduces acoustic noise by as much as 90 percent. Reducing exam noise creates a more comfortable exam experience and improves patient compliance by helping children relax and stay still during the MR exam process, which can also reduce the need for patient sedation.

“We selected the Vantage Atlas because it offers a quiet, quick and safe exam, which is what’s needed in a pediatric setting,” said Dr. Jeff Foster, director of Radiology, Kosair Children’s Hospital. “Additionally, the Vantage Atlas improves patient care by offering a strong, fast magnet that provides outstanding image quality. Receiving high-quality images allows us to diagnose a patient and develop a treatment plan quickly, which is critical for providing the best care to our patients.”

source: Toshiba Medical


Whole-Body MRI May Help Detect Suspected Child Abuse

Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is highly accurate at detecting soft-tissue abnormalities, may serve a role in detecting suspected child abuse in infants, according to a study in the September issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (www.ajronline.org). Whole-body MRI does not use ionizing radiation, but employs a magnetic field, radio frequency pulses, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs, soft tissues, bone, and virtually all other internal body structures.

The diagnosis of abuse relies heavily on the presence of skeletal injuries, and high-quality skeletal surveys (a series of X-rays of all the bones in the body) are recommended to visualize the often subtle high-specificity fractures seen in infant abuse. Bruises are the most common sign of physical abuse, but subcutaneous tissue and muscle injuries are not currently evaluated with a global imaging technique in living children.

The study, performed at Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, included 21 infants who underwent whole-body MRI for the evaluation of suspected child abuse. Summary skeletal survey and whole-body MRI identified 167 fractures or areas of skeletal signal abnormality. “Although our study results revealed that whole-body MRI is insensitive in the detection of classic metaphyseal lesions and rib fractures, we found it did identify soft-tissue injuries such as muscle edema and joint effusions that, in some cases, led to identifying additional fractures,” said Jeannette M. Perez-Rossello, MD, lead author of the study.

source: American Roetgen Ray Society


ASIR Technique Significantly Reduces Radiation Dose Associated With Abdominal CT Scans

A new low-dose abdominal computed tomography (CT) technique called adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction (ASIR) can reduce the radiation dose associated with abdominal CT scans by 23-66 percent, according to a study in the September issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (www.ajronline.org). Abdominal CT scans are typically used to help diagnose the cause of abdominal or pelvic pain and diseases of the internal organs, bowel, and colon.

ASIR is a technique that allows radiologists to reduce the noise in an image and improve image quality (like adjusting a TV antenna to make a “fuzzy” image sharper) while reducing the radiation dose.

The study, performed at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ, included 53 patients who underwent contrast-enhanced abdominal low-dose CT with 40 percent ASIR. All 53 patients had previously undergone contrast-enhanced routine-dose CT with filtered back projection (FBP). The average dose reduction using the ASIR technique (compared to routine-dose CT with FBP) was 66 percent for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 20 and 23 percent for patients with a BMI of 25 or greater. “A significant difference,” said Amy K. Hara, MD, lead author of the study.

source: ARRS


Frost & Sullivan Honors Siemens for Leadership in CT Technology

Malvern, Pa., August 10, 2010 – Global growth consulting company Frost & Sullivan has awarded Siemens Healthcare the 2010 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Technology Leadership of the Year in the Computed Tomography (CT) imaging market. The award was based on industry analysis and cited Siemens’ long history in dose reduction solutions, the company’s ongoing commitment to research and development (R&D) in this area, as well as its focus on adding long-term value to its customers’ investments in the company’s CT products.

“Siemens has long been proactive in addressing dose challenges in CT, and because of the company’s foresightedness, initiative, and heavy investments in this area, Siemens is recognized as one of the leaders in the development of dose reduction technologies for CT,” says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Roberto Aranibar.

Frost & Sullivan noted that while all major CT equipment manufacturers have recently began introducing new dose reduction technologies, “Siemens Healthcare has differentiated itself through its consistent contributions of dose reduction technologies for CT since the early 1990s.”

source: Siemens Medical


Rutgers Researchers Assess Severity of Prostate Cancers Using Non-invasive Magnetic Resonance Imaging

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers researchers are developing methods that can accurately assess the severity of prostate cancer by analyzing magnetic resonance images and spectra of a patient’s prostate gland. This may help physicians decide more confidently which patients need aggressive treatment and which are better served by “watchful waiting,” and could even postpone or eliminate invasive biopsies in patients with low-grade tumors.

In a presentation next month at the world’s premier medical image analysis conference, Rutgers biomedical engineers will report that they achieved over 90% accuracy in distinguishing low-grade from high-grade prostate cancers by running computer analyses of the images and spectra made on 19 patients in an early research study.

“The breakthrough we’ve had in the last few months is that we see image signatures that distinguish aggressive cancers from less aggressive ones,” said Anant Madabhushi, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Rutgers and a member of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ).

These studies build on earlier research at Rutgers and elsewhere to identify prostate cancer using powerful, high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology.

“Now we’re getting beyond merely identifying whether a person has cancer or not,” he said. “This could lead to better patient management and cost savings.”

source: Rutgers University


Toshiba's Aquilion One Reduces Radiation Dose And Sedation

When pediatric patients are imaged using CT, reducing sedation and radiation dose while maintaining the best possible image quality is paramount in delivering care. To provide patients with high-quality CT exams and a reduction in sedation and radiation dose, leading children's hospitals are installing Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc.'s Aquilion® ONE 320-detector row CT system. Designed with the pediatric market in mind, the Aquilion ONE captures up to 16 cm in a single rotation of 0.35 seconds, decreasing the amount of radiation a patient receives and lessening the need for sedation.

With smaller vessels, lower bone density and less body fat, pediatric patients have different imaging needs than adults, creating the need for CT technology tailored for children. Traditionally, when children are imaged using multi-detector CT, sedation can be required to keep the patient still long enough to obtain a clear diagnostic image.

"Lowering radiation exposure is critical for pediatric patients, as they are more sensitive to radiation. It is especially important for pediatric patients with chronic conditions, as they could potentially undergo a lifetime of imaging exams," said Daniel Podberesky, M.D., chief of Thoracoabdominal Imaging, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

source: Toshiba Medical


FDA Accepts New Drug Application for Gadovist® 1.0 Injection in Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Berlin, August 4, 2010 – Bayer Schering Pharma AG, Berlin, Germany, announced today that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for filing a New Drug Application to the U.S. for gadobutrol injection, a gadolinium-based contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Gadovist® 1.0 (gadobutrol injection) is a macrocyclic, non-ionic gadolinium-based contrast agent formulated at a 1.0 molar concentration. The submission for gadobutrol injection in contrast enhanced MRI of the CNS (central nervous system) is supported by two adequate and well-controlled Phase III studies. The first Phase III study compared the efficacy of combined gadobutrol-enhanced images plus unenhanced images to unenhanced images alone. The second Phase III study used a crossover design with an active control, gadoteridol, to also compare the efficacy of the combined gadobutrol-enhanced plus unenhanced images to unenhanced images alone, as well as to confirm noninferiority of combined gadobutrol imaging versus combined gadoteridol imaging.

“If approved by the FDA, Gadovist 1.0 would complement our portfolio of contrast agents in the United States,” says Prof. Hans Maier, Head of the Diagnostic Imaging business unit at Bayer Schering Pharma in Berlin. “This submission to the FDA is an important milestone for us.”

source: Bayer


Mayo Clinic Researchers Share Latest Findings in CT Radiation Dose Reduction Efforts

ROCHESTER, Minn. — In recent years, advances in CT scanner technology have made perfusion computed tomography (CT) imaging an important diagnostic tool for patients with suspected stroke. Now, researchers at Mayo Clinic are working to reduce radiation dosages used to acquire perfusion and other CT images. Mayo Clinic medical physicist Cynthia McCollough, Ph.D., and her group of researchers presented their findings related to CT dose reduction at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine on July 20 in Philadelphia. The presentation was entitled "20-Fold Dose Reduction Using a Gradient Adaptive Bilateral Filter: Demonstration Using in Vivo Animal Perfusion CT."

"We believe in the clinical value of perfusion CT, and though there is no documented risk of injury at the currently prescribed radiation levels, we are trying to lower the dose for the benefit of patients," says Dr. McCollough, diagnostic radiologist, Mayo Clinic.

The As Low As Reasonably Achievable, or ALARA, principle has always guided Mayo Clinic's approach to the dosages of radiation used to acquire CT images. Dr. McCollough's team has been experimenting with a newly created image-processing algorithm that produces high-quality perfusion CTs with up to 20 times less the radiation used under existing protocols.

source: Mayo Clinic


CT scans might detect upper spine injuries

HOUSTON -- (July 22, 2010) -- In a study of original CT scans and records of patients who survived severe car accidents, were transferred alive to a Level 1 Trauma Center but subsequently died within 21 days of arrival, experts at Baylor College of Medicine found that 30 percent had injuries to the upper spine and surrounding area which might have been detectable by CT scans before they died. The report appears in The Spine Journal.

"Occipitocervical dissociative injuries are injuries that include any kind of severe injury that includes damage to the soft tissue connecting the vertebral segments of upper cervical spine," said Dr. Peleg Ben-Galim, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at BCM and one of the researchers involved in the study.

Cervical spine injuries are the most common injury associated with car accidents, and Ben-Galim and colleagues sought to find out how often such injuries took place in trauma patients and if doctors could have detected them before a patient died.

source: Baylor College of Medicine


Functional MRI may predict response of hepatocellular carcinoma to chemoembolization

Early knowledge of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) response to transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) is crucial for determining treatment success, timing of repeat treatment, and patient prognosis. Currently, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used 1-3 mo after treatment to evaluate anatomical tumor response, based upon changes in tumor size and contrast-agent enhancement. Alternatively, diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) can be used as a functional imaging technique to depict thermally induced motion of water molecules. The extent of water mobility within biological tissues can be quantified by a parameter called the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC). Recently, ADC values have been shown to change within days to weeks after therapy, which is earlier than changes seen by conventional HCC anatomical size assessment. However, no studies to date have reported the intra-procedural characteristics of ADC and whether these values can predict future tumor response at the time of chemoembolization.

A research article to be published on July 7, 2010 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. The research team led by Professor Reed A Omary, from Department of Radiology, Northwestern University, Chicago, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure changes in tumor activity at the time of treatment, and compared them to tumor structural changes on conventional MRI at standard 1- and 3-mo follow-up periods.

Their results suggest that patients whose intra-procedural ADC values increase or decrease by > 15% are more likely to have a favorable anatomical tumor response 1 mo later.

source: EurekAlert


Medtronic Receives CE Mark for Ensura MRI(TM) SureScan(TM) Pacing System Approved for Use in MRI Machines as Labeled

MINNEAPOLIS, Jun 30, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Medtronic, Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!mdt/quotes/nls/mdt (MDT 36.68, +0.48, +1.33%) announced today the company received CE (Conformite Europeenne) Mark for Ensura MRI(TM) SureScan(TM) pacing system. Ensura MRI is the company's new option in the second-generation pacing system, available in select European geographies, in a portfolio of devices from Medtronic designed, tested, and approved for use as labeled with MRI machines. Patients with this new SureScan pacing system will have access to full body scans, without positioning restrictions in the MRI scanner. The Ensura MRI SureScan pacing system currently is not approved for sale in the United States.

"Half of the world's pacemaker implants are from Medtronic, and physicians say the number one unmet need is MRI compatibility," said Pat Mackin, president of the Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management business and senior vice president at Medtronic. "We are pleased to offer physicians a third option from the world's first portfolio of MR Conditional pacing systems with our exclusive technology for patients who may need access to the critical diagnostics available through MRI."

Approximately two million Europeans have implanted pacemakers; however, these patients are strongly discouraged from receiving MRI scans, a widely practiced diagnostic method for many common diseases and conditions, such as cancer, neurological disorders and orthopedic injuries. It is possible current pacing systems could interact with MRI machines, potentially affecting the device or patient safety.

source: Medtronic


Siemens Launches SIERRA Dose Reduction Initiative in Computed Tomography

Malvern, Pa., June 29, 2010 – In a continual commitment to patient care and radiation reduction in computed tomography (CT), Siemens Healthcare has launched SIERRA (Siemens Radiation Reduction Alliance) and has established an expert panel to advance the cause of dose reduction in CT. The new Low Dose Expert Panel includes 15 specialists in radiology, cardiology and physics, who are internationally recognized for their publications on the subject of CT dose. The panel’s objective is to generate proposals for how manufacturers may continue to develop their technology and to help users better adapt their procedures in order to bring about further dose reduction in CT. One of the most important suggestions from the first meeting of the Low Dose Expert Panel in May concerns methods to increase utilization in clinical practice of the many CT dose reduction technologies that are already available.

“Our aim as a leading innovator in the field of computed tomography is to reduce radiation exposure for all typical CT examinations below 2 mSv, which is as low as the average annual dose due to naturally occurring background radiation. We are committed to doing everything we can to help our customers reduce doses in CT without compromising the diagnostic quality of the examination in any way,” said Sami Atiya, PhD, CEO, Computed Tomography, Siemens Healthcare. “With this in mind, we want to work with experts to develop concrete proposals on dose reduction and, therefore, launched Siemens Radiation Reduction Alliance, SIERRA.”

source: Siemens Medical


Toshiba Announces Aegis Breast MR Imaging Workstation

Improving the ability to efficiently process MR images used for breast cancer analysis, the AegisTM breast imaging workstation is now available with Toshiba America Medical Systems' MR products. The Aegis workstation was developed with the distinct needs of radiologists and technologists in mind, offering flexibility and workflow efficiency.

The Aegis breast workstation offers powerful real-time 4D (3D + time) image processing, combining the speed and flexibility of a 3D visualization workstation with dedicated breast MRI algorithms, including kinetic curves and color maps and customizable reports. Powerful software and hardware technology provides the clinician with real-time interactive control of large dynamic datasets, as well as analysis driven by true, real-time 3D visualization of any dataset in any orientation. Combined with advanced hanging protocols, automated reporting, interventional accuracy, dynamic real-time processing and interventional guidance to multiple targets, the Aegis breast workstation is an industry leader in breast MR visualization and interventional guidance.

source: Toshiba Medical


ASIR Technique Significantly Reduces Already Low Radiation Dose from CT Colonography

A newly adapted low-dose computed tomography (CT) technique called adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction (ASIR) can help radiologists reduce the already low radiation dose delivered during CT colonography (CTC) by another 50 percent, according to a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (www.ajronline.org).

ASIR is a technique that allows radiologists to reduce the noise in an image and improve image quality (like adjusting a TV antenna to make a “fuzz” image sharper) while reducing the radiation dose to only one-quarter of that delivered by a typical abdominal CT scan.

“Despite the fact that the radiation dose delivered by CTC was already low and a lack of conclusive data regarding risk from medical radiation, radiologists strive to reduce dose at every opportunity,” said C. Daniel Johnson, MD, lead author of the study. “This new technique allows us to use far less radiation than even a typical abdominal CT scan without compromising image quality. CTC has been shown to be an effective front line screening tool for colorectal cancer. The fact that we can now screen patients with an increasingly lower dose can allay concerns, attract more patients to be screened and ultimately save tens of thousands of lives each year,” said Johnson.

source: ARRS


UBC study offers ethical and cost-effective strategy for managing MRI incidental findings

The increasing number of incidental findings in brain imaging can be managed ethically and cost-effectively by screening study participants based on gender, age and family history, according to University of British Columbia researchers.

Incidental findings are anomalies discovered unexpectedly during research that utilizes brain imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain.

The UBC study, published online today the journal Value in Health, is the first economic analysis of current incidental finding management practices. More than 1,800 fMRI studies were published between 2002 and 2008.

Incidental findings that require clinical follow-up are detected in two to three percent of healthy participants in these studies. At an average of 10 participants per study, that is two to three percent of 18,000 volunteers.

Incidental findings that require clinical follow-up are detected in two to three percent of healthy participants in these studies. At an average of 10 participants per study, that is two to three percent of 18,000 volunteers.

Currently, protocols for handling incidental findings vary widely across institutions, ranging from costly, full clinical-grade imaging for all study participants before enrolment to “don’t look, don’t tell,” where brain images aren’t screened for anomalies.

source: University of British Columbia


Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc. Presents Preliminary Data Comparing Novel Cardiac PET Imaging Agent With SPECT at SNM Annual Meeting

N. BILLERICA, Mass., Jun 07, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc., a worldwide leader in diagnostic medical imaging, today announced preliminary data from a single site participating in the multicenter Phase 2 clinical trial that showed that Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging with its novel investigational agent flurpiridaz F 18 injection (formerly known as BMS747158) provided better image quality than technetium-99m sestamibi single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), the current standard for the non-invasive detection of coronary artery disease (CAD). The data also indicated that PET imaging with flurpiridaz F 18 injection rendered a significantly larger perfusion defect size when compared with the corresponding defects seen in SPECT imaging. The data were featured today in an oral presentation (# 798032) by Balaji Tamarappoo, M.D., Clinical Fellow, Advanced Cardiac Imaging at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, at the SNM 57th Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City.

"These encouraging preliminary data from our clinical research site show that PET imaging with flurpiridaz F 18 injection provided improved image quality and an increase in defect size compared to SPECT," said Daniel S. Berman, M.D., Chief, Cardiac Imaging and Nuclear Cardiology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "A PET imaging agent that may provide higher quality images with more obvious perfusion defects can have a profound effect on physicians' ability to make more definitive assessments of coronary artery disease."

source: MarketWatch


Siemens Celebrates 1000th MAGNETOM Espree MRI System

Malvern, Pa., June 3, 2010 – Siemens celebrates the milestone of the 1,000th MAGNETOM® Espree system sold worldwide with Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, which is ranked among the top 10 hospitals in the United States and is the largest teaching hospital in Missouri. This installation marks the third MAGNETOM Espree that the 1,259-bed hospital will employ to image patients of all sizes, ages and disabilities.

“We are extremely pleased with the Espree scanners,” says Dr. Vamsi Narra, a Washington University radiologist on staff at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “The wide bore configuration allows us to accommodate patients of all sizes, while providing top-notch imaging. More and more patients prefer the Espree to other standard-bore scanners.”

The 1.5 Tesla MAGNETOM Espree revolutionized the industry when it was introduced in 2004 as the world’s first Open Bore system. As a trailblazer in Open Bore technology, it combines the largest magnet bore – 70 cm – with the shortest magnet length – 125 cm cover to cover. This unique design provides 30 cm space above the patient’s face – twice that typically offered by vertical field open MRI systems. The very short length allows for 60 percent of exams to be completed with the patient’s head outside of the bore. The expanded face space and head-out scanning has proven to increase patient acceptance.

source: Siemens Healthcare


PET Scanning Probes Reveal Different Cell Function Within the Immune System

ScienceDaily (June 2, 2010) — A commonly used probe for Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanning and a new probe developed by researchers at UCLA reveal different functions in diverse cells of the immune system, providing a non-invasive and much clearer picture of an immune response in action.

The probes, the commonly used FDG that measures cellular glucose metabolism, and FAC, developed at UCLA and which measures the activity of a distinct biochemical pathway, work better when used in combination than either does alone. In addition to revealing the extent and cellular composition of an immune response, the probes also may be useful in evaluating therapies that target different cellular components of the immune system, said Dr. Owen Witte, a professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and senior author of the study.

"We demonstrated with this study that each probe targets different cells in the immune system with a high degree of specificity," said Witte, director of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center and a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher.

source: Science Daily (Release)


Toshiba's Large Open Bore Mr System Improves Workflow At Overlake Hospital

TUSTIN, Calif., May 26, 2010 – Improving MR exam workflow without sacrificing patient safety, exam comfort or image quality is a goal for many health care facilities. Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, Wash., selected Toshiba America Medical Systems’ patient-friendly Vantage TitanTM ultra-short, open bore MR system to achieve this goal in its new MR facility.

Before acquiring the Titan, Overlake did not own an MR system and therefore was required to outsource all of its MR exams, a time-consuming and cumbersome experience for both the patient and physician. Since installing the Titan, Overlake patients receive MR exams immediately and on-site. In fact, the Titan’s ability to increase patient throughput because of its patient-friendly features enabled Overlake to exceed its patient volume projections shortly after installation.

“When planning our new MR department, we wanted to not only have around-the-clock access to MR exams and improve workflow, but also maintain Overlake’s focus on patient safety and comfort,” said Brenda Rinehart, director of Medical Imaging, Overlake Hospital. “The Titan’s features met and even exceeded these requirements. One example is the Titan’s large, open bore and noise reduction technology, which have improved the exam experience for our claustrophobic patients. This has resulted in a decrease in the need for sedation, allowing us to image patients more rapidly and safely.”

source: Toshiba Medical


MRI Research Highlights High-risk Atherosclerotic Plaque Hidden in the Vessel Wall

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have shown that use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in an animal model can non-invasively identify dangerous plaques. The findings, which appear in the May issue of Circulation Cardiovascular Imaging, offer possible applications in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with atherosclerosis.

Rupture of vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque, which often occurs without prior symptoms, is responsible for a substantial number of deaths and disabilities worldwide. The untimely death of television journalist Tim Russert was caused by the sudden rupture of a vulnerable plaque in a critical location in a coronary artery. Identification of atherosclerotic plaques with a high risk for disruption and thrombosis would allow preventive therapy to be initiated before thrombi begin to clog arteries and cause stroke or heart attack.

The BUSM researchers examined diagnostic protocols in an animal (rabbit) model of human disease with procedures that never could have been applied to humans. Plaque disruption was stimulated at a precise time to allow MRI imaging before and after the rupture. According to researchers, plaques that were hidden within the vessel wall and pushing the vessel wall outward instead of occluding the lumen had a very high chance of forming a thrombus; plaques that caused vessel narrowing were almost always stable, which could explain why the most dangerous plaques generally escape detection by x-ray angiography. The study finds accurate, non-invasive MRI can identify these stable and unstable plaques.

source: Boston University School of Medicine


Symposium Focuses on Patient Safety in CT Scanning

ATLANTA, GA (May 13, 2010) -- A national summit of medical professionals meeting last month in Atlanta called for the creation of consensus scan techniques as a way of addressing the concerns of patients undergoing CT scans -- a common medical imaging procedure that uses X-rays to show cross-sectional images of the body.

The summit brought together some of the world's leading experts in CT imaging, including medical physicists, radiologists, technologists, and equipment manufacturers. It was hosted by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), a professional organization whose members include board-certified health professionals and research scientists specializing in the use of radiation in medicine.

According to Cynthia McCollough, Ph.D., Professor of Radiologic Physics at the Mayo Clinic, who co-organized the meeting on behalf of AAPM, the summit achieved its goal of identifying several issues that need to be dealt with by the medical imaging community in order to address the safety concerns of patients at U.S. hospitals and clinics.

In the last several months, many medical physicists have witnessed first-hand how some patients have grown concerned about stories in the media questioning the risks and challenging the safety of CT scans.

"We all hear it every day. Patients ask, 'do I really need to have this procedure?'," said Dianna Cody, Ph.D., another co-organizer of the meeting. Cody, who is Professor of Imaging Physics at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, says that patients should not be afraid of getting medically appropriate CT exams. “When medically justified,” she said, “the benefits of CT scans far outweigh the risks.”

Even so, patients' fears are very real. The CT Dose Summit arose partly as a response to these fears, as leaders within the AAPM CT community discussed what more professionals in their field could do to ensure patient safety and to reassure patients coming for CT.

source: AAPM


Meet Phannie, NIST's Standard 'Phantom' for Calibrating MRI Machines

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)--a widely used medical tool that relies on magnetic fields and radio waves to visualize the body's internal structures, especially soft tissues--may soon become even more useful.

Phannie is the first “phantom” for calibrating magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines that is traceable to standardized values. The plastic sphere is about the size of a person’s head and filled with 100 smaller spheres used as contrast-enhancing agents and measurement reference markers. NIST researchers in Boulder, Colo., built Phannie and tested it on an MRI scanner at the University of Colorado Brain Imaging Center.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has unveiled the first “phantom” for calibrating MRI machines that is traceable to standardized values. The prototype, named Phannie, was developed in collaboration with the standards committee of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM).

Traceable MRI calibrations are expected to enable accurate, quantitative measurements of tumors and other disease markers that can be reproduced across many different patients, scanners and clinics over time—and potentially reduce medical costs.

Displayed at the annual ISMRM meeting this past week,* the NIST phantom is a plastic sphere about the size of a person’s head, filled with water-bathed grids of 100 small plastic spheres containing various salt solutions that become magnetized in a magnetic field. By making MRI scans of Phannie, users can evaluate the image contrast, resolution, and accuracy of distance and volume measurements. A machine’s performance can be compared to standards, to other MRI machines, and to itself over time.

source: NIST


UF receives $7.5 million to study MRI as a tool for evaluating patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Duchenne muscular dystrophy research at the University of Florida got a major boost with the award of $7.5 million in National Institutes of Health funding to study the use of magnetic resonance imaging in determining the natural progression of the disease.

UF scientists will assess whether MRI technology can be used as a precise, noninvasive measure of muscle tissue in children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Understanding how the disease affects muscle tissue could help facilitate the testing of new therapies in clinical trials, researchers say.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy affects about one of every 3,500 to 5,000 boys born each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease causes the muscles that control movement to progressively weaken and lose the ability to regenerate after an injury, eventually replacing critical muscle tissue with fat and collagen. By age 12, many patients need a wheelchair. As the disease advances, the heart and respiratory system are affected and patients often die of cardiorespiratory failure in their 20s.

source: University of Florida


Preoperative MRI Assists in Surgical Planning and Helps Spare Erectile Function After a Robotic Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy

Preoperative prostate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help urologic surgeons spare the neurovascular bundle (NVB) (which controls a man’s erectile function and continence) during a robotic assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP) for the treatment of prostate cancer, according to a study to be presented at the ARRS 2010 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

RALP is becoming increasingly common for the treatment of prostate cancer. “However it is limited by a lack of haptic feedback (loss of sense of touch), a component urologic surgeons use to evaluate the NVBs and determine if a nerve-sparing technique is possible,” said Timothy McClure, MD, lead author of the study. “Our study investigated the utility of MRI of the prostate in changing surgical decision making with regards to nerve sparring RALP,” said McClure.

The study, performed at the University of California, Los Angeles, included 104 men with biopsy proven prostate cancer who underwent preoperative MRI prior to RALP. “Twenty-nine out of 104 patients had the nerve sparring technique changed because of MR imaging. Of patients for whom the plan was changed, 49 percent underwent nerve sparing surgery and 40 percent had their plan changed to non-nerve sparing surgery,” said McClure.

source: ARRS


CT Technique Eliminates the Need for X-rays in Trauma Patients With Possible Spinal Fractures

When trauma patients receive a computed tomography (CT) scan of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis, a technique called CT spine reformatting eliminates the need for X-rays of the thoracic and/or lumbar spine to detect spinal fractures. This technique can lower cost and overall patient radiation exposure, according to a study to be presented at the ARRS 2010 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

CT spine reformatting is performed by a CT technician after a CT scan is complete. It helps the radiologist assess the thoracic and/or lumbar regions of the spine without additional imaging, which can reduce cost and patient radiation exposure.

“Background research shows that CT is much more sensitive and specific than X-rays in detecting thoracic and lumbar spine fractures,” said Viesha Ciura, MD, lead author of the study. Our study looked at the percentage of trauma patients who had both reformatted CT data and X-rays of the thoracic and/or lumbar region of the spine and the additional radiation dose and cost associated with the unnecessary X-rays,” said Ciura.

The study, performed at the University of Calgary, Foothills Medical Centre, included 897 trauma CT scans with spine reformats. 19 percent of the patients with reformatted CT data showing the spine also had X-rays of the same segment of the spine. “In patients with spinal fractures detected on the CT spine reformats, the X-rays provided no additional information, and in fact, some of these fractures were not seen on the X-rays,” said Ciura. “Our calculations suggest that in every 1,000 trauma patients, the added radiation dose from spine X-rays that may not have been needed is 170 mSv; the additional cost per 1,000 trauma patients was $19,678.93,” she said.

source: ARRS


Non-Contrast HiSS MRI Performs Just as Well as Conventional Contrast-Enhanced MRI at Separating Benign and Malignant Breast Lesions

High spectral and spatial (HiSS) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — even when used without a contrast agent — matches the performance of conventional contrast-enhanced MRI at separating benign and malignant breast lesions, according to a study to be presented at the ARRS 2010 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA. Contrast agents are used to enhance the image quality of an imaging exam.

HiSS MRI provides important functional and anatomical information that conventional MRI cannot. In addition, the image quality of HiSS MRI can be better than that of conventional MRI.

The study, performed at the University of Chicago in Chicago, IL, included 56 women who were imaged using both HiSS and conventional MRI. “Results showed that HiSS MRI (without contrast agents) performed just as well in the task of separating benign and malignant lesions as conventional MRI (with contrast agents),” said Milica Medved, MD, lead author of the study. “The accuracy of both tests was higher than 0.8,” she said.

“Currently, HiSS is still part of a research effort, and is not in routine clinical practice yet. We are hoping to change that — in fact, we are in the process of initiating a multi-center imaging trial which, if successful, would pave the way for routine clinical applications of HiSS,” said Medved.

source: ARRS


Image Filters Improve Image Quality and Lower Patient Radiation Dose Associated With CT Scans

Adaptive image filters can lower the patient radiation associated with chest and abdominal computed tomography (CT) scans while significantly improving image quality, according to a study to be presented at the ARRS 2010 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

Image filters are one of the tools used in image processing to lower image “noise” in low radiation dose CT. “As we lower the radiation dose, the CT images become “noisy” or speckled which makes it difficult to view the organs or the body structures in the image,” said Sarabjeet Singh, MD, lead author of the study. “Image filters allow us to effectively lower the radiation dose without sacrificing the image clarity,” said Singh.

The study, performed at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA, included 12 patients who received a CT scan at four different levels of radiation dose in the chest and abdomen. All low dose images were processed with adaptive filters, and “regardless of radiation dose, post processing with image filters improved subjective noise for both chest and abdominal CT and helped lower the CT radiation dose levels for chest by up to 40 mAs and for the abdominal CT by up to 100 mAs,” said Singh.

“With the increasing use of CT, radiation dose concerns have been rising in the medical community, patients, as well as the media. Hence various efforts have been made to lower the radiation dose associated with CT scanning,” he said.

source: ARRS


Medtronic Launches Award-Winning Neuro Oncology Surgical Imaging System in the United States

MINNEAPOLIS– April 26, 2010 – Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) today announced U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(K) clearance and U.S. launch of the PoleStar® N30 Surgical MRI system, the latest in neuro oncology surgical solutions.

Providing real-time imaging in the operating room (OR), the PoleStar Surgical MRI provides surgeons with targeting and navigational accuracy despite the anatomy movement that may occur during a surgical procedure. With intra-operative imaging information, neurosurgeons gain more confidence to achieve maximum tumor resection, while avoiding critical areas of the brain. Use of the PoleStar system may also reduce the need for revision surgeries and the length of stay at the hospital for the patient.

“This is the next generation of intra-operative MRI providing flexibility, enhanced ergonomics and confidence in the achievement of surgical goals,” said Jim Cloar, vice president and general manager of the Navigation division, part of the Surgical Technologies business at Medtronic. “With its unique compact design, the PoleStar Surgical MRI system enables neurosurgeons to benefit from intra-operative MR imaging without the compromises inherent in other systems, such as extensive renovation of the operating room or restrictions upon the surgeons' choice of instruments.”

source: Medtronic


Researchers Successfully Lower Radiation Dose Associated With Pediatric Chest CT Scans

Adjusting the radiation dose based upon a child’s weight can significantly lower the radiation dose associated with pediatric chest computed tomography (CT) scans, according to a study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (www.ajronline.org). CT scanning combines special X-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body.

The study, performed at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford School of Medicine, in Stanford, CA, included 120 children who underwent chest CT scans — 60 children weighed less than 15 kg (33 pounds) and 60 weighed between 15 and 60 kg (33 – 132 pounds). Radiologists adjusted their chest CT protocols by lowering the radiation dose according to patient weight.

“For children weighing less than 33 pounds, we were able to reduce the radiation dose by approximately 73 percent,” said Beverley Newman, MD, lead author of the study. “For children weighing between 33 and 132 pounds, we were able to reduce the radiation dose by approximately 48 percent,” said Newman.

“CT examinations are commonly performed in the pediatric population. However radiation dose related to CT has become a public health concern, and appropriate reduction of radiation dose has become an important goal in pediatric CT,” she said.

“While it is important to keep radiation doses as low as possible, it is important not to compromise the diagnostic usefulness of the scan. In our study, lowering the radiation dose did increase image noise resulting in grainy images. However the low dose examinations were still considered diagnostically acceptable,” said Newman.

source: ARRS


NIH Support For New Patented Technology For Improving Cardiac CTs

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally and a tremendous burden on the healthcare system. Better detection of hardening or clogging of arteries and other blood vessels before symptoms occur is needed. With funding from the National Institutes for Health (NIH), researchers from Virginia Tech and GE Global Research Center are developing novel cardiac computed tomography (CT) architectures and methods, including a newly patented approach to a long-standing challenge in local CT image reconstruction (Patent 7,697,658 "Interior Tomography and Instant Tomography by Reconstruction from Truncated Limited-angle Projection Data" issued April 13, 2010). The research team will also evaluate the performance of various cardiac CT system designs to determine the most promising designs and demonstrate their clinical feasibility and utility.

Better image quality at lower radiation dose is the immediate need being addressed by the research project led by Ge Wang, the Pritchard Professor and director of the Biomedical Imaging Division of the Virginia Tech - Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering & Sciences (SBES), and Bruno De Man, a CT authority at GE Global Research Center.

source: Medical News Today


New test could identify smokers at risk of emphysema

Using CT scans to measure blood flow in the lungs of people who smoke may offer a way to identify which smokers are most at risk of emphysema before the disease damages and eventually destroys areas of the lungs, according to a University of Iowa study.

The study found that smokers who have very subtle signs of emphysema, but still have normal lung function, have very different blood flow patterns in their lungs compared to non-smokers and smokers without signs of emphysema.

This difference could be used to identify smokers at increased risk of emphysema and allow for early intervention. The findings appear this week in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"We have developed a new tool to detect early emphysema-related changes that occur in smokers who are susceptible to the disease," said lead study author Eric Hoffman, Ph.D., UI professor of radiology, internal medicine and biomedical engineering. "Our discovery may also help researchers understand the underlying causes of this disease and help distinguish this type of emphysema from other forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This type of CT scan could even be a tool to test the effectiveness of new therapies by looking at the changes in lung blood flow."

source: University of Iowa


Association Between CT, MRI Scans And Shorter Hospital Stays, Decreased Costs

Advanced imaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) might shorten the length of a person's hospital stay and decrease the high costs associated with hospitalization if used early, according to a study in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Inpatient costs represent 18 percent of total health care insurance premiums paid, and they continue to grow approximately 8 percent annually," said Juan Carlos Batlle, MD, MBA, lead author of the study. "The stable growth of hospital costs despite marked increases in imaging costs has led to the observation that the increased use of modern imaging has been associated with a decrease in other costs of hospitalization, such as length of stay, which our study seeks to demonstrate," said Batlle.

source: Medical News Today


Toshiba MR Technology Shortens Brain Imaging Time

TUSTIN, Calif., March 22, 2010 – When imaging the brain, time is critical as vascular abnormalities can have a profound effect on patients’ lives if not diagnosed quickly. To help health care facilities diagnose disease with greater accuracy and speed, Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. has introduced Variable True Rate Angiography with Combined Encodings (V-TRACE), an exclusive MRA sequence available on all Vantage TitanTM and Vantage Atlas® MR systems. V-TRACE streamlines MRA brain imaging by acquiring four image contrasts in one sequence, providing an imaging application for visualizing slow and fast flow vessels separately and together, as well as the brain tissue surrounding the vessels.

“The ability of Toshiba’s V-TRACE MRA sequence to image four contrasts in one sequence allows for greater visualization of blood vessels in the brain, particularly collateral vessels that can be difficult to see with standard MRA sequences,” said Doug Ryan, vice president, Marketing and Strategic Development, Toshiba. “This new sequence allows hospitals to improve workflow and patient care by saving time during MRA imaging.”

V-TRACE MRA is a dual-echo 3D FE sequence in which the first echo is acquired using Time-Of-Flight (TOF) and the second echo is acquired using Flow Sensitive Black Blood (FSBB). The sequence combines the advantages of both techniques to produce MRA images that depict blood vessels with both high and low velocity. The sequence design reduces the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), which is a measurement of heat generated to the body during a MRI.

source: Toshiba Medical


Virtual Colonoscopy Allows Detection of Unsuspected Cancers Beyond Colon

ScienceDaily (Mar. 25, 2010) — A new, large-scale study of more than 10,000 adults found that more than one in every 200 asymptomatic people screened with CT colonography, or virtual colonoscopy, had clinically unsuspected malignant cancer and more than half of the cancers were located outside the colon. The findings were published in the April issue of the journal Radiology.

"We are finding that virtual colonoscopy screening actually identifies more unsuspected cancers outside of the colon than within it," said lead author Perry J. Pickhardt, M.D., professor of radiology and chief of GI Imaging, at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health. "As with asymptomatic colorectal cancers identified by virtual colonoscopy screening, these cancers are often detected at an early, curable stage."

Colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., and the National Cancer Institute estimated that there would be 146,970 new cases diagnosed in 2009 and 49,920 deaths.

source: Science Daily Release


Unusual prenatal MRI detects rare, oft-missed genetic disease

(Media-Newswire.com) - In a case believed to be a United States first, the radiology team at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital has used prenatal magnetic resonance imaging to detect an often-misdiagnosed genetic disease.

The disorder, congenital chloride diarrhea, can cause severe dehydration and serious metabolic disturbances in newborns if not treated quickly.

“This is a disease where early diagnosis is the key to a good outcome,” said Richard Barth, MD, the physician who recognized the unusual case. Congenital chloride diarrhea is so rare, with only about 250 total cases reported worldwide, that infants with the disease are often erroneously treated for other diarrhea-causing ailments. “If the patient’s fortunate, you could stumble onto this diagnosis,” said Barth, the chief radiologist at Packard Children’s and a professor of pediatric radiology at the School of Medicine. The case was the first instance of CCD Barth had ever seen.

It is one of only four known cases of CCD diagnosis ever made via prenatal MRI. A scientific report on the four cases, including Barth’s case and three from France, was published online Dec. 9 in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology. The report is a collaboration between Barth and a team of French scientists in Marseilles.

source: Media Newswire


Dual-Energy CT Accurately Diagnoses Gout in Acute, Emergency Settings

A medical imaging technique called dual-energy computed tomography (CT) is an effective and reliable way to diagnose gout in the acute, emergency setting, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (www.ajronline.org). Dual-energy CT is an advanced medical imaging technique that can detect vessels and bones and display them in clear contrast to one another. It enables physicians to diagnose many patients’ conditions faster and more accurately as it can better characterize tissue composition better than conventional CT.

Gout is an extremely painful kind of arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in and around the joints. “Doctors often use clinical features to diagnose gout, however many other diseases can mimic or coexist with it and conventional imaging techniques like X-rays, ultrasound, and conventional CT are not specific enough to facilitate a diagnosis,” said Savvakis Nicolaou, MD, lead author of the study.

The study, performed at Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, BC, included five cases in which the diagnosis for gout was made or excluded on the basis of dual-energy CT. “In every case, conventional imaging techniques were used before applying advanced dual-energy CT technology, however we were not able to make a diagnosis based solely upon those findings,” said Nicolaou.

“To our knowledge, dual-energy CT is the only imaging method described to date that can confirm the diagnosis of topheceaous (or chronic) gout with high accuracy,” he said.

source: ARRS


Medtronic Receives FDA Panel's Unanimous Recommendation for Approval of Revo MRI(TM) SureScan(TM) Pacing System

MINNEAPOLIS – March 19, 2010 – Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE: MDT) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Circulatory System Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee has voted unanimously in favor of approval with conditions of the Revo MRI™ SureScan™ pacing system designed as MR Conditional, or safe for use in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems under specified conditions. MRI procedures are not recommended in the United States for patients who currently have implanted pacemakers; if approved, Revo MRI has the potential to be the first FDA-approved pacing system designed for use in the MRI setting.

The FDA’s Circulatory System Devices Panel, which met today, recommended Revo MRI for approval with conditions related to the planned post-market study, health care professional training, and labeling to reflect MRI scans are to be conducted with the full Revo MRI SureScan Pacing System. The FDA will consider the panel’s recommendation in its review of Revo MRI; however, it is not bound by its Advisory Committee’s recommendations.

“MRI is critical in the diagnosis of many serious conditions; however, patients with current pacemakers most often do not have access to this vital technology,” said Pat Mackin, president of the Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management business and senior vice president at Medtronic. “The result of today’s panel brings Medtronic one step closer to helping address an important unmet patient need. We look forward to working with the FDA during the regulatory process so that we may provide certain pacemaker patients with access to MRI scans.”

source: Medtronic


Early Identification of Alzheimer's Disease With PET Scan

LOS ANGELES, March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Westside Medical Associates of Los Angeles and Westside Medical Imaging (WMI) of Beverly Hills announce the benefit of early positron emission tomography (PET) scanning to identify Alzheimer's in its early more treatable phase. According to Dr. Norman Lepor, Professor of Medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Co-director of Imaging at WMI, "the research investigators at the New York University Langone Medical Center have confirmed our long held belief that we can use advanced imaging for early identification of Alzheimer's disease in patients that have not yet developed symptoms." According to Dr. Lisa Moscone of the NYU Langone Medical Center, "treating at this early stage would have the best chance of success." According to Dr. Hooman Madyoon, Co-director of Imaging at WMI, "nearly 5 million Americans suffer from the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's with the number of Americans expected to be afflicted increasing to epidemic levels as the population ages."

According to Dr. Elliot Kolin, lead radiologist at WMI, "the NYU research team used PET with a fluorescent imaging agent called Pittsburgh Compound B that lights up clumps of a protein called beta amyloid that is a characteristic finding of Alzheimer's disease." According to Dr. Moscone not all patients with beta amyloid plaques in their brain develop Alzheimer's, the appearance of these plaques do increase the risk.

source: PR Newswire


Frost & Sullivan Lauds Positron Corporation For Cardiac-Focused PET Molecular Imaging Scanner Attrius™

Based on its recent analysis of the cardiac molecular imaging systems market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Positron Corporation with the 2010 North American Award for New Product Innovation, for its pioneering cardiac positron emission tomography (PET) scanner, Attrius™. The Attrius™ was developed and optimized for molecular imaging of the heart, making it the ideal solution for cardiologists and hospitals looking to add high accuracy, cost effective imaging technology.

The nuclear cardiology imaging scene has been dominated by single photon emission tomography (SPECT) until recently when the imaging world was flipped upside down by the announcement of SPECT reimbursement cuts by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), combined with the world shortage of the molybdenum-99 isotope. Many in the industry are looking for new technologies to improve their diagnostic accuracy, improve patient outcomes, reduce patient radiation exposure all while adding to their bottom line. The elusive solution to this dire situation may lie in an already well established, underutilized imaging modality: PET.

source: Medical News Today


MRI Detects Contralateral Breast Tumours Missed by Conventional Screening Methods

JACKSONVILLE, Fla -- March 9, 2010 -- Scanning for contralateral breast cancer using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) increases cancer detection rates among postmenopausal women, including those over 70 years old, with newly diagnosed breast cancer. The same findings were not confirmed in premenopausal women with newly diagnosed breast cancer.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, found that 3.8% of 425 women had breast cancer in the undiagnosed breast that had not been detected with a clinical or mammographic examination; all were postmenopausal. In these women, detecting and treating cancer in both breasts at the same time may save costs, patient stress, and the potential toxicity that may come from having to treat cancer later in the second breast once it is discovered, the researchers say in the March/April issue of The Breast Journal.

Of particular interest to the researchers is their finding that patients aged >= 70 years had a higher prevalence of cancer in the second breast detected by MRI than did younger patients in the study. MRI detected a cancer in the second breast in 5.4% of 129 elderly women included in the study.

source: Doctors Guide


Study: CT cost-effectively screens for lung disease in non-smoking women

Performing a high-resolution CT on non-smoking women age 24 to 53 with a collapsed lung can be a cost-effective screening for lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), according to a study published online Feb. 18 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

LAM, a rare lung disease, occurs when cells begin to grow and spread to the lungs, kidneys, lymph nodes and vessels. "Women with LAM who first experience spontaneous lung collapse will, on average, experience two more,” according to Brent Kinder, MD, the study's senior investigator.

Kinder and colleagues of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio evaluated the cost-effectiveness of screening patients for LAM by evaluating the rates of spontaneous pneumothorax and the prevalence of LAM in relation to age, gender and smoking status. The researchers used 2007 Medicare data.

According to the authors, the prevalence of LAM in non-smoking women between the ages of 25-54 with spontaneous pneumothorax is estimated
at 5 percent, based on available literature.

source: HealthImaging


Ownership/Leasing Of PET Scanners By Nonradiologists On The Rise

Just as with computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the growth rate among non-radiologists who own or lease positron emission tomography (PET) equipment is also on the rise, contributing significantly to the ongoing issues surrounding self-referral and unnecessary utilization of imaging in the United States, according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology. PET is a relatively new technology that produces three-dimensional images of functional processes in the body. It is often used to diagnose certain types of cancer and heart disease.

"One of the well-known factors contributing to rising imaging costs is self-referral among non-radiologist physicians which has been shown to result in unnecessary utilization of imaging," said Rajan Agarwal, MD, MBA, lead author of the study. "This has made imaging one focus of concern as policymakers and third party payers look to cut health care costs," said Agarwal.

source: Medcal News Today


Toshiba's Contrast-Free MRA Techniques Improve Patient Safety At Little Company Of Mary

TUSTIN, Calif., Feb. 25, 2010 – In response to concern over gadolinium-based contrast agents, Little Company of Mary, a not-for-profit Catholic community hospital in Evergreen Park, Ill., wanted to provide the highest quality and safest MRA procedures to its patients. To accomplish this, the facility installed Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc.’s Vantage Atlas® MR system and utilized the full suite of proprietary contrast-free MRA techniques. These contrast-free techniques proved so beneficial that Little Company of Mary now completes 98 percent of its MRA exams without contrast.

“Eliminating the use of gadolinium-based contrast agents, particularly for patients with renal impairment, is greatly improving patient safety for those undergoing MRA exams at Little Company of Mary,” said Kate Erickson, supervisor of CT and MRI, Little Company of Mary. “The image quality produced using the contrast-free techniques is equal to or better than typical contrast-enhanced MRA exams.”

Erickson also added that Toshiba’s techniques are improving hospital efficiency. For example, by not using contrast the team has reduced the need for rescans that sometimes occurs when a bolus is missed, and they also do not need to run pre-exam lab tests on patients to evaluate renal function.

source: Toshiba Medical


Nation’s CT Manufacturers Unveil New Industry-Wide Medical Radiation Patient Safety Features

Newswise — As part of its ongoing commitment to ensuring safe, appropriate and effective medical imaging and radiation therapy, the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) announced today a new industry-wide commitment to more expansively address patient safety in medical imaging by including new radiation dose safeguards.

A new radiation dose check feature will provide an alert to CT machine operators when recommended radiation dose levels – as determined by hospitals and imaging centers – will be exceeded. The alert is designed to provide a clear indication to health care providers when radiation dose adjustments made for a patient’s exam would result in delivering a dose higher than the facility’s pre-determined dose threshold for routine use. Known as a “reference dose,” this dose threshold level at which the new alert will appear will be set by clinicians. MITA and its member companies stand ready to work with professional organizations, regulatory bodies, and individual clinicians on implementing this feature and to assist in establishing these diagnostic reference dose values.

Moreover, manufacturers said today they are also committed to including an additional safeguard that will allow hospitals and imaging facilities to set maximum radiation dose limits that would prevent CT scanning at higher, potentially dangerous radiation levels.

source: Newswise