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Medical Imaging

— Health and Wellbeing

Quick 3D motion-capture system developed for imaging muscles

Current medical imaging technology misses important data regarding muscle contraction, including the ways in which a muscle’s shape changes when it contracts, how the muscle bulges, and how its internal fibers become more curved ... or at least, so Simon Fraser University (SFU)’s associate professor James Wakeling tells us. In order to remedy that situation, he has developed a new method of imaging contracting muscles, that he claims should allow researchers to observe never-before-seen details of muscle activation. Read More

Desktop-sized CT scanner created as a teaching aid

When you're learning how to use a complex device, there’s nothing like getting some hands on play time. When it comes to CT (Computed Tomography) scanners, however, it’s often difficult to find a time when they’re not being used on patients. That’s why two biophysics professors at Canada’s Western University invented the DeskCAT. It’s a miniature CT scanner that’s small enough to sit on a desk, so it can be used in medical school classrooms. Read More
— Science

Microfluidic silicon probe could improve disease diagnostics

IBM scientists in Zurich have created a proof-of-concept device, that could change the way that human tissue samples are analyzed. Presently, samples must be stained with a biomarker solution in order to detect the presence of a disease. The staining process can be quite involved, however, plus it is subject to error – too much of the solution can cause inaccurate results, for instance. Additionally, it can sometimes be difficult to perform enough tests using the small amount of tissue extracted in most biopsies. The IBM technology, though it still involves staining, is said to offer a potential solution to these shortcomings. Read More
— Science

Next-generation camera pill could transmit HD video from inside the body

Although we may not yet have reached the stage where manned submarines can be shrunken down and placed inside the body, à la the movie Fantastic Voyage, current technology does allow us to do something almost as impressive – it is now possible to obtain images of the inside of the intestinal tract, by getting patients to swallow a camera-equipped capsule. Japanese company RF System Lab reported success using its Norika 3 RF Endoscopic Robot Capsule to transmit live video from inside test subjects back in 2004, while just last year Olympus announced the creation of a similar device. Now, Norwegian researchers are stating that they are in the process of developing the “next generation” of camera pill. Read More
— Medical

New algorithm could significantly reduce MRI scan time

If you've ever had to endure a diagnostic session in a magnetic resonance (MRI) machine, you know that lying motionless for up to 45 minutes can be uncomfortable at best. Add in the countless ear-ringing thumps, bangs and knocks and you have a procedure that begs for any sort of abbreviation. Thanks to a new algorithm developed by an MIT research team, the time spent in that claustrophobic tube may soon be appreciably shortened, without much loss of accuracy. Read More
— Military

New method may lead to improved detection of nuclear materials

Scientists at Northwestern University, Illinois, have outlined a new method for detecting electromagnetic radiation at the high energy end of the spectrum. The work could lead to the development of a small, hand held device able to detect this "hard radiation" and has implications for the detection of radioactive materials which could potentially be employed in terrorist weapons, such as nuclear bombs or radiological dispersion devices, as well as materials employed in clandestine nuclear programs. Read More
— Good Thinking

Cheap, portable microscope uses holograms instead of lenses

While financial contributions are certainly a great help to health care practitioners in developing nations, one of the things that they really need is rugged, portable, low-cost medical equipment that is compatible with an often-limited local infrastructure. Several such devices are currently under development, such as a battery-powered surgical lamp, a salad-spinner-based centrifuge, and a baby-warmer that utilizes wax. UCLA is now working on another appropriate technology in the form of a small, inexpensive microscope that uses holograms instead of lenses to image what can't be seen by the human eye. Read More
— Science

Fluorescent nanotubes used for imaging of internal organs

Mice are frequently used as lab models when testing new drugs, and fluorescent dyes are sometimes injected into their bodies so that researchers can better see how those drugs are progressing through their systems. Unfortunately, the pictures obtained in this process start to become murky when imaging anything more than a few millimeters beneath the skin. Scientists from Stanford University have now devised a system that utilizes fluorescent carbon nanotubes to produce clear color images of organs that are located centimeters within a mouse's body. Read More