Using whole-body scans to screen for cancer presents such a catch-22, especially in kids. While traditional radiation scanners like PET and CT are good at finding cancer, they expose patients to radiation that can be harmful and even induce cancer later in life -- more so in younger patients, because their cells are still dividing quickly and because, with more years ahead of them than adults, children also have a higher chance of being exposed to more radiation down the line.
Ultrasound as an imaging technique has several things going for it. For one, it's more affordable than CT and MRI scans, and it's portable, so it can easily travel to rural and low-infrastructure areas or patients who are house-bound. And unlike with CT scans and X-rays, there is no ionizing radiation exposure, hence its widespread use imaging fetuses in pregnant women.
Unfortunately, the high-frequency soundwave approach to viewing soft tissue doesn't provide great resolution, so despite all its perks, it's not the go-to imaging tech for cancer detection. Now, thanks to a new discovery out of … Read more
Pancreatic cancer carries one of the worst prognoses of any disease, period. A whopping 99 percent of people diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer are dead within five years, and without any screening tests, it's usually found late. Even though it's one of the least diagnosed types of cancer in the US, it is the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths. With such a grim record, scientists are hard at work looking for a test that can spot the disease earlier.
And while they caution that their work is preliminary, Danish scientists are reporting Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association … Read more
Say a doctor orders an MRI scan of a child's brain to try to determine what might be at the root of a list of troubling symptoms.
She eyeballs the results to look for abnormalities that might indicate certain diseases or disorders, but nothing seems terribly amiss. So she submits the scan anonymously to a database that includes thousands of other scans of children with healthy and abnormal brains to find matches. She then gets the medical records -- anonymously, of course -- of kids with similar scans and voila, she makes a diagnosis that involves a lot less … Read more
Brain scans may reveal signs of autism, which could eventually aid in early intervention therapies, according to new research.
Researchers using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner measured the brain activity of volunteers with autism spectrum disorders against controls and say the comparisons reveal disrupted brain connectivity that could serve as a neural signature of autism.
While the study is both preliminary and small -- including only 30 volunteers -- the findings, which appear online Friday in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, joins a wider range of autism research that could ultimately help supplement current behavior-based diagnoses and … Read more
A team of physicists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University is working on a novel MRI technique that has achieved nanoscale resolution -- meaning scientists could soon view biological samples such as influenza viruses very clearly.
The experimental result brings MRI one step closer to atomic-scale imaging, says lead researcher Raffi Budakian of the University of Illinois, who reports his findings in the journal Physical Review X. "Imagine a 3D image slice-by-slice of an influenza virus and then looking at all the chemical components with nanometer-scale resolution. That's our dream. It provides a toolset for biology that doesn't yet exist."… Read more
Want to know what a typical MRI scanner sounds like? Go to this YouTube video and turn up the volume pretty much as loud as you can and you'll get an idea. At 110 decibels, which is roughly the noise level of a rock show (I know, depends on which one) and right at the average human pain threshold, MRI scanners are pretty much daring you to keep your cool.
So GE Healthcare has been developing a new technology called Silent Scan that dramatically reduces the noise level. (Scroll down to get an idea of the difference.) The company reports this week that the tech is now commercially available and is also being more widely used in clinical settings worldwide.… Read more
When J. Marc Simard, a neurosurgery professor at the University of Maryland, saw a TV show a few years back with plastic surgeons using sterile maggots to remove dead tissue from a patient, the proverbial light bulb went off.
"Here you had a natural system that recognized bad from good and good from bad," Simard said last week in a press release from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. "The maggots removed all the bad stuff and left all the good stuff alone, and they're really small. I thought, if you had something equivalent … Read more
Dyslexia is a common learning disorder that affects around 1 in 10 people in the U.S., where it is typically diagnosed around second grade but sometimes goes undiagnosed and unmanaged well into adulthood. And though it is technically a learning disorder, it actually occurs in people with normal vision and intelligence, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Now researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston Children's Hospital say that a type of MRI scan called diffusion-weighted imaging could help diagnose the disorder in kids before they even start to learn to read -- a discovery that could … Read more
Our brains are mysterious organs. And fast. Too fast, it turns out, to be fully observed using the current gold standard: functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
So researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Institute of Technology and Advanced Biomedical Imaging at the University of Chieti in Italy are turning to faster technology called magnetoencephalography (MEG) to sample neural activity every 50 milliseconds.
In doing so, they've been afforded novel insights into the inner-workings of neural networks in resting and active brains. As the researchers report in the journal Neuron, these new insights could … Read more