Last February, a group of Canadian researchers presented at the American Academy of Orthopeadic Surgeons (AAOS) a new study about the interpretation of MR images on the iphone.

Smartphones are becoming part of every activity of our lives, and this is also true for physicians and hospitals. The advantage is that they are portable and most of the time on the pocket or handbag, but the question is whether they are good enough for a medical diagnosis.

According to Dr. John Theodoropoulos, an orthopedic surgeon from the University of Toronto, “iPhone interpretations showed high sensitivity and specificity for medial meniscus and cruciate ligaments injuries with lower sensitivity for lateral meniscus tears and lower specificity for cartilage injuries.  And compared to much larger the PACS workstation interpretation on a flat screen, the iPhone showed excellent agreement for medial meniscus and cruciate ligament injuries and good agreement for cartilage injuries”. However, Dr. Theodoropoulos said that the iPhone app missed two cartilage tears versus the full-sized workstation.

Maybe we are not there yet, but the smartphones and tablets certainly look promising for medical image interpretation and have many features that make them very attractive, specially for emergency cases.

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Cloud-based services

February 23, 2012

Each day we are hearing more and more about cloud services. However, a critical issue comes to mind: data security.

Some are comparing this reaction to the first reactions to Internet banking, consumers being afraid of fraud, identity theft and so on. As Internet banking, cloud-based services are a reality nowadays. However, you must choose your provider wisely. Suppliers must have the optimal technologies to ensure patient data is protected at all levels.

For more information,  Carestream has created a white paper about cloud-based services.

The use of mobile medical apps on tablets and smartphones is becoming more and more common in healthcare. Therefore the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has included medical imaging applications in a new draft guidance document. It is not yet final. Comments and suggestions may be submitted to the FDA until October.

Nanotechnology and cancer

January 26, 2011

In the last few years, nanotechnology has gained in popularity. Particularly, in cancer research, where it holds great promise for the development of targeted, localized delivery of anticancer drugs, in which only cancer cells are affected. Nowadays, anticancer drugs are distributed through the whole body, damaging healthy cells as well as cancerous ones.

Researchers at UCLA’s California NanoSystems Institute and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have carried out a study where they demonstrate that mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs), tiny particles with thousands of pores, can store and deliver chemotherapeutic drugs in vivo and effectively suppress tumors in mice.

The study also showed that MSNs circulate in the bloodstream for extended periods of time and accumulate almost exclusively in tumors after administration and that the nanoparticles are excreted from the body after they have delivered their chemotherapeutic drugs.According to the researchers, the tumor accumulation could be further improved by attaching a targeting moiety to MSNs.

There is still a long way to go before this technology can be used in humans, with safety tests and many more studies to follow in different animal models, but so far, the results are very positive.

MR/PET combined scanner

November 21, 2010

PET/CT is a reality nowadays. PET provides functional information, while CT gives high resolution morphological information. The combination of both in one image perfectly aligned is highly important for a more accurate disease assessment. However, CT gives poor detail of soft-tissue and it involves a considerable amount of radiation, which means that MR/PET would be of high relevance. Having said that, it seemed to be nearly impossible to integrate MR and PET technologies: the conventional PET detectors, which use photomultiplier tubes, could not be used in the strong magnetic field generated by an MR system. Integration was further limited by the lack of space inside the MR device. Those difficulties seem to be part of the past, according to Siemens.
Biograph mMR Whole-Body Integrated MR-PET System is currently undergoing clinical use testing (not commercially available yet – no 510k yet).

Themed imaging suites

November 15, 2010

Any radiographer can tell how challenging is to image children. X-ray, CT or MR imaging scans require patient’s cooperation in order to get good images.This is not always easy. Children are specially difficult, mainly because they are scared of the whole procedure. Therefore different pediatric hospitals in the UK have started a new concept: the themed imaging suites.
According to Dana Etzel-Hardman, an advanced practice nurse in Children’s Hospital’s radiology department, a thematic room adds to the distraction techniques employed to try to increase productivity of the CT scanner and decrease the number of sedations required for the patients having CT exams. The number of children requiring sedation for a CT scan has declined and the waiting lists too.
Imaging vendors are now working together with children’s hospitals to create themed imaging suites. For more information, check the article aunt minnie

Radiation-blocking underwear…

September 13, 2010

Airport X-ray scanners is the latest security measure that you have to go through before boarding a plane in the US. But, how safe are they? A lot to discuss about it… So far, you still got the option of getting a pat down. So no need to worry too much, right? Well, if you belong to those that think that soon there’ll be x-ray scanners everywhere, from schools to museums, etc., a company (Rocky Flats Gear) seems to have found the solution for you: ‘radiation-blocking’ underwear.
This all sounds very nice, but what happens with the rest of the body, doesn’t it get affected by radiation? Soon, we’ll have to be walking around on ‘radiation-blocking’ clothes. And the head? use an astronaut-like mask? How far can we go with those ”prevention” measures?