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By Larry Adams
NEW USES FOR MEDICAL IMAGING
According to a recent report by Frost & Sullivan, Product Enhancements Drive Adoption of Imaging Procedures among End Users, continuous technological and product innovations have made imaging procedures better suited for multiple uses. Additionally, the report says that general changes in the pattern of treatment care are increasing the number of imaging procedures being performed outside the radiology department.
Product features such as portability are especially important for mobile physicians and the addition of cardiac applications to CT scanners have made them valuable for cardiologists, the report says. New advances in such products as cardiac ultrasound, handheld ultrasound, nuclear breast imaging and breast positron emission tomography have increased the scope of applications.
"Many new procedures even allow one imaging scanner to replace another procedure by providing a minimally invasive alternative," the report says. "Though radiology is expected to continue to be the prime user of imaging technologies, its total exam volume is anticipated to decline in the coming years.
"Looking forward, medical imaging technologies are expected to be at the forefront of medicine and are likely to show up earlier in the continuum of care. The clinical value of medical imaging continues to grow exponentially, catapulting it into the heart of healthcare delivery and the practice of medicine."
NOT JUST FOR MEDICAL PURPOSES
Not all medical imaging technology is necessarily used in medical applications. For instance, one researcher is looking at how MRIs can detect when a person lies. Dr. Scott Faro, a professor and vice-chairman of radiology and director of the Functional Brain Imaging Center and Clinical MRI at Temple University School of Medicine (Philadelphia), is looking at how the brain changes when a person lies. Brain imaging captured changes to the brain as measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).