fMRI Technique leads to Mind Reading Speller for those Unable to Speak

Researchers have developed a new MRI based technology that can enable language communication in those completely unable to physically speak. According to an article in Biology Jopurnal of Cell Press, the key to the new technology is the first real time brain scanning speller.

The technology expands on an earlier use of fMRI to assess conciousness in people described as being in an unconcious or vegetative state by introducing the capability of answering simple yes or no questions. Going beyond the earlier version, the new scanning technique uses the entire alphabet as well as blank spaces.

While volunteers performed 27 different mental task with each linked to an alphabetical letter or the space key, blood flow in very precise parts of the brain corresponding to these tasks was measured by fMRI and a deterrmination was made of which character they had chosen.

"The work of Adrian Owen and colleagues led me to wonder whether it might even become possible to use fMRI, mental tasks, and appropriate experimental designs to freely encode thoughts, letter-by-letter, and therewith enable back-and-forth communication in the absence of motor behavior," said Bettina Sorger of Maastricht University in The Netherlands, one of the researchers working on the study.


Study Examines Necessity of Additional Imaging in PET/CT Oncologic Reports

Radiologists and nuclear medicine physicians recommended additional imaging about 30% of the time in oncologic PET/CT reports, with about half of those recommendations being unnecessary, a new study shows.

The study, conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, included 250 patients. The study found that there were 84 recommendations made for additional imaging. When study reviewers examined the patients’ records, they concluded that 43 of those recommendations were unnecessary, said Atul Shinagare, MD, one of the authors of the study. No adverse patient outcome would have occurred by not recommending additional imaging tests in these 43 cases, said Dr. Shinagare.

The study did not specifically address the motivating factors behind the recommendations for additional imaging, however “we feel that some of the most important factors leading to unnecessary recommendations include reluctance of physicians to accept uncertainty regarding diagnosis, partly driven by medicolegal concerns, combined with a failure to fully consider the patients’ clinical circumstances and the likely cost-effectiveness of additional imaging tests,” said Dr. Shinagare.

The study also found that 70% of the time, referring physicians did not follow through on the radiologists’ recommendation for additional imaging.

source: ARRS


MD Anderson Performs First MRI-Guided Brain Biopsy Using ClearPoint(R) System

MEMPHIS, Tenn., June 5, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MRI Interventions, Inc. (OTCBB:MRIC) today announced that the first MRI-guided brain biopsy using the company's ClearPoint® System has been performed at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas by neurosurgeon Dr. Ashwin Viswanathan, working with Dr. Sujit Prabhu. The MRI-guided brain biopsy represents the newest use of the ClearPoint System, which has already been successfully used by neurosurgeons in the United States for the insertion of electrodes and catheters in the brain.

MRI Interventions' ClearPoint System is an integrated system of reusable components, disposable components and intuitive, menu-driven software. It provides guidance for the placement and operation of instruments during neurological procedures performed within the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) environment. Using the ClearPoint system, a physician sees and selects a neurological target, aims MRI Interventions' targeting device, and watches via MRI as the surgical instrument is advanced to the target. The ClearPoint system is intended to be used as an integral part of procedures, such as biopsies and catheter and electrode insertions, which have traditionally been performed using stereotactic methods, and the system is designed to allow those procedures to be performed in a hospital's existing MRI suite.

"The system worked well," said Dr. Prabhu. "The clear advantage is confirming the position of the needle tip prior to a biopsy and also identifying a safe trajectory to the lesion."

source: MRI Interventions


Breast MRI helps predict chemotherapy's effectiveness

OAK BROOK, Ill. – Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides an indication of a breast tumor's response to pre-surgical chemotherapy significantly earlier than possible through clinical examination, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology.

Women with breast cancer often undergo chemotherapy prior to surgery. Research has shown that women who receive this treatment, known as neoadjuvant chemotherapy, are more likely to achieve breast conservation than those receiving chemotherapy after surgery.

Clinicians track a patient's response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy through clinical measurements of the tumor's size and location. Contrast-enhanced MRI offers a promising alternative to the clinical approach through its ability to detect blood vessel formation in tumors, known as angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is an earlier and more accurate marker of tumor response.

"MRI was better than the clinical approach for predicting which patients would go on to have complete tumor response," said Nola M. Hylton, Ph.D., professor of radiology and biomedical imaging at the University of California in San Francisco. "It gave us great information on early response to treatment."

For the study, researchers analyzed data from ACRIN 6657, the imaging component of the multicenter Investigation of Serial Studies to Predict Your Therapeutic Response with Imaging And moLecular Analysis (I-SPY TRIAL) breast cancer trial.

They compared MRI and clinical assessment in 216 female patients ranging in age from 26 to 68 years undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy for stage II or III breast cancer. MRI sessions were performed before, during and after administration of a chemotherapy regimen. The researchers correlated imaging results with subsequent laboratory analysis of surgical samples.

source: EurekAlert


Hitachi Receives FDA Clearance for Widest Bore 1.5T MR System

CLEVELAND--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Hitachi Medical Systems America, Inc., a leading provider of diagnostic imaging equipment, announced FDA clearance to market its Echelon Oval 1.5T Ultra-Wide MR system.

Echelon Oval sets a new standard for premium wide bore 1.5T MRI with its patient shaped design, resulting in a 74 cm oval bore – the widest in the industry.

“With the evolving changes in health care delivery putting ever more emphasis on patient comfort and satisfaction, Echelon Oval re-shapes expectations for MR imaging,” said Sheldon Schaffer, Vice President and General Manager, MR and CT.

The latest innovation from Hitachi addresses the important aspects of patient accessibility, broad range of clinical capability and optimized workflow. All patients, particularly claustrophobic and anxious ones, will benefit from increased space and visibility. With a diverse suite of advanced imaging techniques including non-contrast MRA, isotropic image acquisition, robust fat suppression and much more, Echelon Oval delivers high diagnostic confidence. In addition, Hitachi’s Workflow Integrated Technology (WIT) suite of efficiency-focused and patient-friendly features, such as an integrated coil system and wide mobile table, optimize the entire imaging process.

“For over two decades Hitachi has lead the way in innovative, reliable MR products that have always put the comfort of the patient first,” Schaffer added. “Echelon Oval joins a storied progression of MR products that deliver state-of-the-art imaging capability, without sacrificing patient comfort.’”

source: Business Wire


Phase 3 Results for GE Healthcare Imaging Agent Flutemetamol Presented at American Academy of Neurology Meeting

NEW ORLEANS, Apr 25, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- GE Healthcare today announced results from four pooled brain biopsy studies, as well as key results from a brain autopsy study, of the investigational PET amyloid imaging agent, [(18)F]flutemetamol.(1) The data showed that both biopsy and autopsy study images had high sensitivity and specificity, and that strong concordance exists between [(18)F]flutemetamol PET images and Alzheimer's disease-associated beta amyloid brain pathology. The data confirm the potential of [(18)F]flutemetamol as an imaging agent to detect beta amyloid plaque, a pathology associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD), in living patients.

These data are being presented as part of the Emerging Science Program (formerly known as Late-Breaking Science) at the American Academy of Neurology's 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans, April 21 to April 28, 2012, and support an application for regulatory approval of [(18)F]flutemetamol, which is intended to be filed later this year. [(18)F]flutemetamol is a GE Healthcare PET imaging agent in development for the detection of beta amyloid.

"Currently, the standard for definitively confirming AD is through detection of pathology, including amyloid plaque in the brain during autopsy," said David Wolk, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology in the Cognitive Neurology Division, Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania, presenter and lead investigator for the biopsy study.

GE Healthcare


New BIOTRONIK ICD and CRT-D Series Gives Patients First-Ever Access to MR Scans

BERLIN, Germany, April 12, 2012 — BIOTRONIK, a leading manufacturer of innovative medical technology, announced today the European full market release of the new Lumax 740 ICDs (implantable cardiac defibrillators) and CRT-Ds (cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillators) in the European market. The Lumax 740 is the world’s first and only ICD and CRT-D series approved for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)1, now giving ICD and CRT-D patients access to vital MR scans with BIOTRONIK’s innovative ProMRI® technology.

“With its new Lumax 740 series BIOTRONIK is offering physicians and their patients access to state of the art diagnostics and the freedom to select the optimal ICD system for each patient’s indication. The development of the new ProMRI® technology really represents a significant improvement in patient care,” commented Professor Dr. Wilhelm Haverkamp, Charité University Hospital Berlin, Virchow-Clinic Campus, Germany.

Currently patients with standard ICDs are not allowed to have MR scans for safety reasons, yet 50–75% of them will be indicated for an MR scan during the lifetime of their device.2 Worldwide, the population of patients who need an ICD is growing at a rate of about 10–15% annually. At the same time, the need for MR scans is also increasing at a rate of about 10% each year. Approximately 30 million scans were performed in 2006, and in 2010, there were already about 50 million MR scans conducted worldwide.

source: Biotronik


Siemens Announces First Integrated Amyloid Imaging Solution in the U.S. Market for Use in Evaluation of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Causes of Cognitive Decline

Hoffman Estates, Ill., April 10, 2012 — Siemens Healthcare is the first company worldwide to announce a complete integrated diagnostic imaging solution proposed for the detection of amyloid plaques — one of the necessary pathological features of Alzheimer’s disease1,2,3 — in the living brain. The latest elements of Siemens’ integrated solution came today with the company’s U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) application for its syngo®.PET Amyloid Plaque4 proprietary neurology quantification software, as well as the recent FDA approval of Eli Lilly and Company’s Amyvid™ (Florbetapir F 18 Injection), a radioactive diagnostic agent indicated for brain imaging of beta-amyloid plaques in patients with cognitive impairment who are being evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of cognitive decline.5

Siemens integrated amyloid imaging solution encompasses three unique elements — the new Biograph mCT™ PET•CT scanner, FDA 510(k)-pending syngo.PET Amyloid Plaque neurology quantification software and the manufacturing and distribution of Amyvid. All are examples of Siemens Healthcare’s innovative power and competitiveness, which are two goals of the company’s global initiative, Agenda 2013.

As the largest producer and distributor of Amyvid, PETNET Solutions, Siemens’ network of PET drug manufacturing establishments, will begin supplying Amyvid to imaging centers in limited U.S. markets beginning in June 2012. Complementing the new radioactive diagnostic agent, Siemens pending software could potentially support the quantification of amyloid plaque in the brain. Combined with the company’s family of high-resolution PET imaging scanners, Siemens now announces for the first time an integrated diagnostic tool for patients with cognitive impairment who are being evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of cognitive decline.

source: Siemens


FDA approves imaging drug Amyvid for PET scanning

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Amyvid (Florbetapir F 18 Injection) a drug for Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging of the brain in adults who are being evaluated for Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and other causes of cognitive decline. Cognitive decline refers to a condition where the ability to think and form clear, rational thoughts and decisions has decreased. It can cause an individual to lose touch with reality, oneself, other people, and external events and surroundings.

Amyvid is used to produce PET scans that estimate the brain β-amyloid neuritic plaque density in patients with cognitive impairment. β-amyloid protein is a type of protein that forms in patients with AD and some other cognitive disorders. Neuritic plaques, also called amyloid plaques, are abnormal clumps of brain cells mixed with β-amyloid protein. A negative Amyvid scan indicates few to no neuritic plaques and reduces the likelihood that any cognitive impairment is due to AD. A positive scan indicates moderate to frequent plaques. This amount of β-amyloid plaque can be found in patients with AD, in patients with other types of cognitive impairment, and in older people with normal cognition.

“Many Americans undergo evaluations to try to determine the cause for a decline in cognitive functioning,” says Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Until now, the brain content of β-amyloid neuritic plaques could only be determined with a brain biopsy or examination of the brain at autopsy. This imaging agent is one tool to help physicians in the assessment of their patients by serving as an adjunct to other diagnostic evaluations.”

Following intravenous injection, Amyvid (a radioactive drug) binds to brain β-amyloid. A radioactive signal is detected with a PET scanner to produce images of the plaque in the brain. A positive Amyvid scan indicates moderate to frequent plaques. However, a positive Amyvid scan does not establish a diagnosis of AD because, although patients with AD always have an increased brain content of plaque, the test also may be positive in patients with other types of neurologic conditions, as well as in older people with normal cognition.

source: FDA


Obese Patients Face Higher Radiation Exposure From CT Scans—But New Technology Can Help

Most medical imaging equipment is not designed with overweight and obese patients in mind. As a result, these individuals can be exposed to higher levels of radiation during routine X-ray and CT scans.

A new study from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the first to calculate exactly how much additional radiation obese patients receive from a CT scan. Research results show the internal organs of obese men receive 62 percent more radiation during a CT scan than those of normal weight men. For obese women, it was an increase of 59 percent.

New technology developed at Rensselaer by nuclear engineering expert X. George Xu could help solve this problem. Xu’s research team created ultra-realistic 3-D computer models of overweight and obese men and women, and used computer simulations to determine how X-rays interact with the different body types. These models, known as “phantoms,” can help empower physicians to configure and optimize CT scanning devices in such a way that minimizes how much radiation a patient receives.

“Radiation exposure is cumulative over a patient’s lifetime. The risk associated with a radiation dose from a single CT scan is relatively small when compared with the clinical benefit of the procedure. But patients are increasingly undergoing multiple CT scans and other radiation-based procedures, which can lead to unnecessary radiation risk. Regretfully, our study shows that obese and overweight patients can be exposed to an even greater level of radiation,” said Xu, head of the Nuclear Engineering Program and a professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering (MANE) at Rensselaer.

source: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Siemens’ New Biograph mCT PET•CT System Receives FDA Clearance

Malvern, Pa., February 15, 2012 – Siemens Healthcare has announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently cleared the features associated with the new Biograph mCT positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET•CT) scanner. The new Biograph mCT enables precise measurement of metabolic processes and data quantification, including the assessment of neurological disease and cancerous tissue, as well as cardiac blood flow (perfusion). Technological innovations and intelligent software solutions within the new PET•CT result in accurate, consistent quantitative assessments. With the new Biograph mCT, which was unveiled last November at the 2011 annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago, Siemens offers yet another paradigm in PET•CT, bolstering the company’s innovative power and competitiveness – a goal of its recently announced global initiative, Agenda 2013.

Accuracy and reproducibility in PET quantification enable the physician to more precisely characterize cancer lesions, which permits better staging and monitoring of changes in activity over time for more accurate assessment of treatment response. The ability to measure absolute myocardial blood flow in cardiology allows the physician to more accurately assess multi-vessel disease. In neurology, noninvasive assessment of the brain can potentially improve the diagnosis and management of patients who present with signs of dementia.

source: Siemens Medical


International Medical Imaging Experts Join Efforts to Advance Prostate Cancer Care

BOSTON, Feb. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- American College of Radiology (ACR), AdMeTech Foundation and European Society of Urogenital Radiology (ESUR) Create Standards for High Quality MRI

ACR, AdMeTech Foundation and ESUR announced today a joint effort to create standards for a high quality prostate MRI and to expedite its transfer of technologies from laboratories to patients. Standards for the Magnetic Resonance Prostate Imaging Reporting and Data System (MR PI-RADS) are modeled after successful efforts in breast cancer care, and are planning to be released in early 2013.

The goal of this international cooperation is to address the central challenge in prostate cancer care recently framed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, American Cancer Society and other groups - improving early detection while reducing unnecessary biopsies and treatment. MR PI-RADS will be based on prostate MRI guidelines developed by ESUR and the work by the AdMeTech Foundation's International Prostate MRI Working Group.

AdMeTech Foundation has been providing international leadership in supporting research, development and testing of high-precision prostate MRI since 1998. AdMeTech's research program has been funded by the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, U.S. Army Medical Research, and Materiel Command, Fort Detrick, MD. Dr. Faina Shtern, President of AdMeTech Foundation said, "In the '90s, the American College of Radiology led development of the BI-RADS standardization of breast cancer imaging which transformed women's health. Over the last several years, ESUR led the way in the development of proposed clinical reporting guidelines for prostate MRI."

source: PR Newswire


My Medical Images Viewer App For Windows Phone 7 Devices To Display Medical Images From Microsoft HealthVault Account, Released By Peridot Technologies

Peridot Technologies announced the release of another Medical Imaging App for Windows Phone 7 devices that can browse and load medical images from patient’s HealthVault Account, so patient can easily share his medical images with friends, family and other doctors.
My Medical Images is a DICOM Viewer app for Microsoft HealthVault users to load medical images and studies (like X-Ray, Ultrasound, CT Scan, MRI, PET Scan etc.) on Windows Phone 7. With this application user can securely sign in to HealthVault account to search studies within the account and then open the specific study with all of the study data and medical images, once study data and preview images for all of the series are loaded, then user may touch or click on any preview image tile to load the high resolution medical images on the full screen of the phone, where user can scroll through various images and frames within that series or pinch to zoom or pan the image

♦ Securely Sign In to HealthVault Account
♦ Search Studies within HealthVault account with Study Date, Series UID, Physician’s Name or Study Description
♦ Open Study with Preview Images and Study Header Data
♦ Load High Resolution/high Quality Study Images in Full screen mode
♦ Scroll through different images / Frames of the Series with the touch and scroll of the finger on the image
♦ Pinch to Zoom
♦ Rotate phone to Rotate Image on the screen

source: PR Web


CT Scans for Dizziness in the ER: Worth the Cost?

DETROIT – Performing CT scans in the emergency department for patients experiencing dizziness may not be worth the expense – an important finding from Henry Ford Hospital researchers as hospitals across the country look for ways to cut costs without sacrificing patient care.

According to the Henry Ford study, less than 1 percent of the CT scans performed in the emergency department revealed a more serious underlying cause for dizziness – intracranial bleeding or stroke – that required intervention.

The findings suggest that it may be more cost effective for hospitals to instead implement stricter guidelines for ordering in-emergency department CT scans of the brain and head for patients experiencing dizziness.

“When a patient comes into the emergency department experiencing dizziness, a physician’s first line of defense is often to order a CT scan to rule out more serious medical conditions. But in our experience it is extremely rare that brain and head imagining yields significant results,” says study author Syed F. Ahsan, M.D., a neuro-otologist in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Henry Ford.

“It is our hope that our investigation into our own practices will shed light on avenues to run leaner practices within our institution, as well as serve as a model for other health systems.”

Along with Dr. Ahsan, Henry Ford study co-authors are Mausumi N. Syamal, M.D., and Kathleen Yaremchuk, M.D.

source: Henry Ford Health System


New Technology Allows CT Scans to Be Done with a Fraction of the Conventional Radiation Dose

University of Michigan Health System is first U.S. academic site to put GE’s Veo into clinical use

A technological breakthrough is allowing the University of Michigan Health System to be the first teaching hospital in the U.S. to perform some CT scans using a fraction of the radiation dose required for a conventional CT image.
Over the past decade, U-M scientists have contributed to the research behind the new GE Healthcare technology, known as Veo.

“Reducing patients’ radiation exposure is a high priority for us,” says Ella Kazerooni, M.D., M.S., professor of radiology at the U-M Medical School. “The radiation dose for a standard chest CT is equal to about 70 chest x-rays. In comparison, a chest CT using Veo can use a radiation dose equivalent to just one or two chest x-rays."

Doses for scans using Veo, however, will vary depending on factors like the size of the patient, the part of the body being scanned, and the diagnostic task, Kazerooni notes.

source: University of Michigan


Bismuth Nanoparticles Yield Promising X-ray Imaging Agent

A major focus of research in cancer nanotechnology aims to develop nanoparticles that can improve the ability of various imaging techniques to spot tumors at a very early stage. While these efforts have focused almost exclusively on developing so-called “contrast agents” for use with magnetic resonance and ultrasound imaging, one group of investigators has now developed a polymer-coated bismuth nanoparticle that holds promise for improving the tumor-detecting capabilities of computed tomography X-ray imaging, or CT.

Reporting its work in the journal Nature Materials, a team of researchers led by Ralph Weissleder, M.D., Ph.D., at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, began their work by refining a method for growing bismuth sulphide nanocrystals to produce flat, rectangular particles of reproducible size and shape. They then coated the resulting nanocrystal with the biocompatible polymer poly(vinylpyrrolidone), or PVP, to create nanoparticles that would be inert in the body, absorb X-rays efficiently, and remain long enough to accumulate in the tumor, and thus, be more visible in a CT image. The researchers note that the PVP coating should also enable them to add tumor-targeting molecules to the particles to increase their ability to image small tumors.

Tests in animals showed that these bismuth nanoparticles remained in the bloodstream far longer than commercially available iodine-based CT contrast agents, and could be used at lower doses.

source: National Cancer Institute


Medical Arts Radiology Introduces First Volumetric PET/CT to Long Island

PET/CT scanning is a powerful diagnostic tool in medicine and has revolutionized the field of oncology. Medical Arts Radiology, one of the first sites on Long Island to offer PET/CT, has extensive expertise in the performance and interpretation of this important imaging modality.

Medical Arts Radiology introduces the GE Discovery VCT to its Plainview location, offering improved patient safety with new, state-of-the-art crystal technology. The Discovery VCT’s ultra-fast LSO crystal produces enhanced quality images, and brings significant advantages to 3-D volumetric acquisition. In addition, the VCT addresses one of the biggest challenges in PET/CT – motion artifact, enabling detailed and precise imaging even in areas subject to motion, like the heart and lungs.

These advances in PET/CT technology being employed by Medical Arts offer an improved measure of patient safety, boasting a faster scan time and reduces the dose of radiation necessary to produce enhanced quality images.

source: PR Web


Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technology Suggests Axonal Repair in Multiple Sclerosis Patients Treated with COPAXONE(R)

JERUSALEM, Jan, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Researchers utilizing an advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to characterize and chart the evolution of MS lesions found that relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients treated with COPAXONE(R) (glatiramer acetate injection) experienced significantly increased magnetization transfer ratio (MTR). Magnetization transfer ratio is a nonconventional MRI technique used to investigate abnormalities in brain structures, and increased values indicate potential remyelination and axonal tissue repair. 

The 12-month MRI study, conducted at the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center (BNAC) located in the Jacobs Neurological Institute at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, examined 40 RRMS COPAXONE(R) naive patients. Patients received monotherapy with COPAXONE(R) (20 mg/day) everyday beginning at the baseline visit for 12 months. Study patients were assessed at baseline and after 12 months based on clinical examinations and using detailed conventional and nonconventional MRI protocols, including magnetization transfer imaging (MTI), an emerging MRI technique used to assess remyelination in the brains of MS patients. 

"These data indicate that treatment with COPAXONE(R) resulted in a measureable amount of tissue repair in study patients," said Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, Director of the BNAC, Professor of Neurology at the University at Buffalo, and lead study author. "The observed increases in MTR point to a potential for remyelination. Overall, these findings contribute to the vast body of research that supports the long-term efficacy and safety of the therapy." 

source: MarketWatch


Patient-Matched Technology Shows Value for Patients, Surgeons and the Healthcare System

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Jan. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Smith & Nephew (NYSE: SNN, LSE: SN) today announces the publication of a new study on the value of patient-matched technology for total knee replacement. Published in the Journal of Arthroplasty (JOA), the official Journal of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, this first-of-its-kind study specifically looked at the VISIONAIRE patient-matched system from Smith & Nephew.

With the VISIONAIRE system, a surgeon uploads each patient's specific MRI and X-Ray images into Smith & Nephew's proprietary web-based software. A Smith & Nephew engineer then uses this data to design and build customized surgical instruments that accommodate the unique shapes and angles of each patient's joint for a more precisely aligned implant. 

According to the JOA study, surgeries that used patient-matched instruments resulted in implants that were a full degree closer to neutral – the body's natural alignment – than those using traditional instrumentation. The accurate placement of an implant has been shown to reduce implant wear and improve the longevity of an implant.[i]

Additional key findings in the study are that patient-matched technology:
  • Reduces the amount of time a patient spent under anaesthesia;
  • Shortens a patient's hospital stay;
  • Shortens the length of the incision required for knee replacement surgery.
Also, because patient-matched technology reduces the number of instrument trays required by 43% and eliminates more than 20 surgical steps for each surgery[ii], it may reduce hospital expenses related to total knee replacements by cutting sterilization costs and increasing OR efficiency.

source: PR Newswire


Costly diagnostic MRIs unnecessary for many back pain patients

By Stephanie Desmon, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Johns Hopkins–led research suggests that routine MRI imaging does nothing to improve the treatment of patients who need injections of steroids into their spinal columns to relieve pain. Moreover, MRI plays only a small role in a doctor’s decision to give these epidural steroid injections, or ESIs, the most common procedure performed at pain clinics in the United States.

With greater focus on runaway health care costs, the study’s findings, appearing online in the Archives of Internal Medicine, highlight one element of the problem: the indiscriminate use of an expensive imaging tool that shows little clinical benefit.

“Our results suggest that MRI is unlikely to avert a procedure, diminish complications or improve outcomes,” said study leader Steven P. Cohen, an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Considering how frequently these epidural injections are performed, not routinely ordering an MRI before giving one may save significant time and resources.

“If we’re trying to cut back on unnecessary medical costs,” Cohen added, “we should stop routinely doing MRIs on almost everyone who comes to us needing ESIs.” A single MRI costs roughly $1,500.

source: Johns Hopkins University


MRI Scan May be a Better Tool for Assessing Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease has traditionally been assessed through coronary angiography and SPECT scanning, both of which employ ionizing radiation to produce diagnostic images.

A recent British Heart Foundation study which was published online in the Lancet has
shown that MRI may also be a reliable and in some respects better alternative in assessing chronic heart disease.

The five year study led by Leeds researchers involved 752 patients. The results have shown that not only is MRI a consistent and reliable tool for detecting CHD, it was also better than SPECT at diagnosing CHD and at ruling out heart disease in patients who did not have the condition. MRI scanning has the additional advantage of not exposing the patient to radiation.

In a press release the University of Leeds noted that this is "the first time that MRI has been compared head-to-head against the 'gold standard' tests for CHD in such a large group of patients".