Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Medical Imaging Marches Forward

The importance of imaging to medicine has never been greater, but it will be.
CT of a jaw fracture
Dr. Jeremy Kuniyoshi, University of California at San Diego
This CT image shows a jaw fracture caused by surfing. Researchers found that surfing causes unique injuries that are not normally seen.
Brain imaging with an MRI
Dr. Scott Faro, Temple University School of Medicine.
Brain imaging with an MRI may one day replace lie detectors to determine if a person is lying. Images of the brain may show how the brain looks when a person is telling the truth and when they are lying.

Larry Adams By Larry Adams

"There may be unique areas in the brain involved in deception that can be measured with fMRI," says Faro. "We were able to create consistent and robust brain activation related to a real-life deception process."

Faro led a study that compared the ability of polygraph tests and brain imaging to detect a lie. In all cases, the polygraph and fMRI accurately distinguished truthful responses from deceptive ones. fMRI showed activation in several areas of the brain during the deception process. These areas were located in the frontal (medial inferior and pre-central), temporal (hippocampus and middle temporal), and limbic (anterior and posterior cingulate) lobes. During a truthful response, the fMRI showed activation in the frontal lobe (inferior and medial), temporal lobe (inferior) and cingulate gyrus. Overall, there were regional differences in activation between deceptive and truthful conditions. Furthermore, there were more areas of the brain activated during the deception process compared to the truth-telling condition.

"We have just begun to understand the potential of fMRI in studying deceptive behavior," Dr. Faro says. "We plan to investigate the potential of fMRI both as a standalone test and as a supplement to the polygraph with the goal of creating the most accurate test for deception."

In another example, scientists using multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) confirmed that scurvy killed nearly half of America's first colonists on Saint Croix Island 400 years ago. The settlement was established in 1604 by French settlers looking to colonize the North Atlantic coast of North America. The island, located in the river that divides the United States and Canada, proved to be a poor choice. Isolation and harsh winter conditions killed nearly half of the 79 colonists. A team of researchers, led by Dr. John Benson, director of medical imaging at Mount Desert Island Hospital (Bar Harbor, ME), analyzed remains from seven burial sites using MDCT, an advanced form of CT technology that supports faster, higher-quality image acquisition. Subsequently, the remains were re-interred on the island.

"Because the remains are no longer available to researchers, our MDCT study has created a digital archive of the skulls and bones that can be continually viewed and studied," says Dr. Benson.

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