Medical Imaging

Medical Imaging

Medical Imaging

Medical Imaging

Synopsis

It has become magic that we take for granted-the ability to look inside the human body, to watch systems function, to diagnose illness, or see one's first baby in utero. Yet the World Health Organization estimates that two-thirds of the world's population do not have access even to basic radiology or ultrasound facilities.

Excerpt

It has been slightly more than a century since the first internal body structures were exposed to view in the intact human body. Wilhelm Roentgen’s X-ray film revealing the bony structure of his wife’s left hand ushered in a rush to apply the new technology for many things, some not so wise in retrospect. The risks of ionizing radiation exposure took over a decade to appreciate. However, the ability to see where a bone was fractured or the location of a bullet without surgery overcame the liabilities of the frivolous applications, and X-ray images greatly improved treatment. For millennia, practitioners of the healing arts had to deduce their patient’s condition indirectly. Their methods ranged from consulting or casting out spirits, relying on the alignment of the planets, and identifying physical features of the patient, to divining imbalances among the four bodily humors (blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile) or the four elements of the Earth (earth, air, fire, and water). Even when the understanding of disease had progressed from mysticism to physiology, societal and religious mores about the sanctity of the body prevented physiciansfrom looking inside the body to find out what had happened, even after death.

Even with access to modern minimally invasive exploratory surgery, the holy grail of diagnostic medicine has been to see inside the intact human body. Transmission X-ray film radiograms were the standard for many decades, although X-ray scattering and overlapping features obscured details, and they were not so useful for soft tissues and . . .

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