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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Parrish Medical Centers Diamondback 360 System

The Diamondback 360° System uses the principle of centrifugal force. As crown rotation increases, centrifugal force presses the eccentrically mounted, diamond-coated crown against the stenotic lesion, removing a thin layer of plaque. The increasing crown orbit creates a larger lumen — minimizing procedure time and expense of catheter upsizing.

Additional benefits of the orbiting motion include:
Removing plaque while minimizing the potential for stress or injury to the media layer, and reducing the risk of barotrauma.
The use of a 6 French introducer sheath

Doctors Ravi Rao, MD, interventional cardiologist and Joseph Flynn, DO, interventional radiologist at Parrish Medical Center are among the first in Central Florida to offer a newly FDA approved treatment option to people with Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)—the Diamondback 360’™ Orbital Atherectomy System.The device removes plaque blockages in the legs (peripherals) and restores blood flow

To learn more about Parrish Medical Center’s services and physicians, visit For a free Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) screening, call 268-6574 to make your appointment. PMC’s radiology department can be reached at 268-6140.
For more information please visit

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

BlackBerry Bold

We've been waiting to get our smudgy digits on RIM's BlackBerry Bold seemingly since before the Earth's crust finished cooling, and finally, Canada's Rogers Wireless lent us a hand. In a few words, the screen is striking, size is actually pretty comfy to hang on to, the keys are fairly easy to use, and we're kinda digging it. As a quick refresher, the Bold has tri-band HSDPA, quad-band EDGE, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, 1GB of onboard memory, and a 2-megapixel cam that can take advantage of the GPS for a bit of geotagging tomfoolery. The integrated media player seems to get the job done with a pile of supported formats -- including DivX, some support for XviD, H.264, MP3, WMA, and a bunch more -- the OS 4.6 looks slick, and have we mentioned the frickin' screen? We'll be back right quick with a deeper dive into the Bold's capabilities, but for now, enjoy the pics.

vasovist mri contrast blood pool agents

Epix Pharmaceuticals Inc., an Israeli firm that has developed Vasovist (gadofosveset trisodium), a novel MRI contrast agent, has announced that its product "has achieved positive results from the blinded, independent re-read of images of its novel blood pool magnetic resonance angiographic (MRA) agent, Vasovist. In the re-read of images obtained from previous phase 3 studies, EPIX met all pre-specified endpoints prospectively agreed to with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). EPIX plans to resubmit a New Drug Application (NDA) to the FDA for Vasovist in mid-2008. Vasovist is currently approved for marketing in 33 countries." And that includes the European Union, where the device (as it is classified) has been marketed (in collaboration with Schering AG) since 2005.
Here's how the agent is described:
Vasovist® is an injectable intravascular contrast agent discovered internally at EPIX and is designed to provide improved imaging of the vascular system using magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). EPIX's initial target indication for Vasovist is for use in MRA imaging of peripheral vascular disease, providing a breakthrough in the physician's ability to visualize the human vascular system and improve disease diagnosis and treatment.
Vasovist reversibly binds to the human blood protein albumin, allowing imaging of the blood vessels for approximately an hour after administration. With a single injection, Vasovist enables clear three-dimensional images of arteries and veins throughout the body. Vasovist may make it possible for physicians to detect vascular disease earlier and less invasively than with X-ray angiography, and provide an improved evaluation of potential therapeutic options including percutaneous intervention and vascular surgery.

diffusion spectrum imaging

At the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston researchers are using an MRI technique called diffusion spectrum imaging to create three dimensional models of the brains of animals and humans.
MIT Technology Review describes this promising imaging modality:
It uses magnetic resonance signals to track the movement of water molecules in the brain: water diffuses along the length of neural wires, called axons. Scientists can use these diffusion measurements to map the wires, creating a detailed blueprint of the brain's connectivity.
On the medical side, radiologists are beginning to use the technology to map the brain prior to surgery, for example, to avoid important fiber tracts when removing a brain tumor. Wedeen and others are now using diffusion imaging to better understand the structures that underlie our ability to see, to speak, and to remember. Scientists also hope that the techniques will grant new insight into diseases linked to abnormal wiring, such as schizophrenia and autism

Zecotek making hybrid mri/pet machines

Photonics magazine is profiling photodetectors made by Zecotek Photonics, a firm out of Singapore, that work well within strong magnetic fields, allowing engineers to make hybrid PET/MRI machines.
Zecotek is leading a collaborative research program with the University of Washington to develop a proprietary PET-MRI detector as the core technology of a new generation of medical imaging systems. The major barrier to a combined PET and MRI scanning device is the strong magnetic fields of MRI which destroy the photodetection capabilities of current PET scanning devices. Unlike the vacuum tube-based PMT, Zecotek's MAPD photodetectors can operate in highly magnetic environment of the MRI making the LFS scintillation crystals and MAPD photodetectors critical enabling technologies for a successful fusion of PET and MRI into one scanning device. This new generation device will offer both higher resolution and faster patient throughput which in turn improves patient diagnostics and reduces costs to the medical system, Zecotek said.
Zecotek announced in mid-April that it successfully completed preproduction testing of the MAPD, which will be initially produced in an 8 by 8 format, with 64 individual MAPDs each measuring 3 by 3 mm, and scalable to larger dimensions. First run production has been slated for evaluation by select industry partners.

A protien called Otx 2

August 7, 2008

Researchers have long sought a factor that can trigger the brain's ability to learn - and perhaps recapture the "sponge-like" quality of childhood. In the August 8 issue of the journal Cell, neuroscientists at Children's Hospital Boston report that they've identified such a factor, a protein called Otx 2.
Otx2 helps a key type of cell in the cortex to mature, initiating a critical period--a window of heightened brain plasticity, when the brain can readily make new connections.

Takao Hensch, PhD, of the Neurobiology Program and Department of Neurology at Children's, the study's senior investigator, speculates that there may be similar factors from the auditory, olfactory and other sensory systems that help time critical periods. Timing is important, because the brain needs to rewire itself at the right moment--when it's getting the optimal sensory input.

Hensch, who last fall won the highly competitive NIH Director's Pioneer Award, is also interested in the transport mechanism that propagates Otx2 from the retina to the cortex. He speculates that Otx2 itself could be a carrier for factors you'd want to deliver to the brain, envisioning eye drops for brain disorders such as schizophrenia, in which parvalbumin cells don't properly mature.

Monday, August 25, 2008

MRI through astonomy

Astronomers from the University of Edinburgh are collaborating with clinicians in trying to apply their expertise in fuzzy image processing to improve the output of MRI machines. The algorithmic techniques, though not specified, are probably based on speckle imaging methods that, thanks to modern computers, have been used in astronomy for a couple decades.
MRI scanning can record images of any part of the body from several angles and is used to examine organs or tissue. Patients who undergo scans may have to lie still for half-an-hour or more, while the scanner records successive layered images of their body, much like a slow-exposure photograph. If the patient moves, the images become distorted.
The astronomy algorithm corrects distortions caused by movement or caused by the scanner. This makes the technique especially suitable for use with children or seriously ill patients, and avoids patients having to undergo repeat scans to get accurate results.
Once an MRI scan is complete, it currently takes a long time to analyse the results fully, whereas the new algorithm can deliver results instantly - without an expensive supercomputer.
Presently many scans are useless because of distortion errors and have to be repeated, so this technology could save time and allow more patients to have faster access to appointments. It could also deliver substantial savings for healthcare providers.
Professor Alan Heavens, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Physics, said: “It was clear that we had the solution to a general problem - how to compress vast amounts of data into manageable, meaningful results - and we wanted to find applications for it. We estimate that in two or three years this technology, derived from pure astronomy research, will be bringing benefits to patients.”

digital light box

BrainLAB AG, out of Feldkirchen, Germany has recently installed its first Digital Lightbox radiology system in a Munich hospital. Designed to be installed in radiology departments, clinical floors, and operating rooms, the system behaves like a giant iPhone, simultaneously displaying volumetric images from various imaging modalities along with patient information.
Digital Lightbox replaces the conventional light box used to observe analog x-ray images. Connected to the hospital PACS, the new digital platform can be installed both in meeting rooms and in operating rooms, where clinicians can then access, manipulate, and utilize data for surgery planning. By displaying the human body in 3D, Digital Lightbox helps clinicians to more clearly demonstrate to patients what effects a disease can have and which procedures may be necessary.
Digital Lightbox enables clinicians to select the most valuable images from large amounts of existing medical data. Ergonomic touchscreen technology with zoom functionality makes working with data easy and effective.
Clinicians can intuitively navigate within pictures and between settings. Image scrolling can be performed with one finger; zooming in and out of images with two. Images from different sources can also be fused easily. A measure functionality enables clinicians to set size and other dimensions.
By integrating the communication platform iPlan® Net from BrainLAB, clinicians can perform treatment planning with Digital Lightbox or any PC connected to the hospital network. This eliminates bottlenecks, as busy planning stations are rendered obsolete. iPlan Net helps to simplify the clinical workflow and save costs, as well as strengthen and simplify interdisciplinary collaboration between neurosurgery, nuclear medicine and radiology departments.
Digital Lightbox can be installed in any hospital environment and is compatible with all established image formats, such as DICOM, jpg, bmp, tif, png, avi, wmv. Planning data can be transferred directly from Digital Lightbox to surgical navigation systems designed for precise and minimally invasive procedures.

MRI tracks stem cells in the heart.

Now for the first time, researchers have tracked the stem cells in mice using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) from their bone marrow origin to the injured site. This opens up the possibility of finding some therapeutic treatment to direct these cells after a heart attack.

Mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs, are found in the bone marrow and can differentiate into certain cell types. They have been detected around heart injuries following a myocardial infarction (heart attack), but whether they come to regenerate heart tissue or to promote healing is still under debate.

Using a series of MRI scans, Tom Hu and colleagues at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA, have tracked MS’s in a sample of mice. The researchers first transplanted into the bone marrow a few hundred thousand MSCs that had been labeled with both iron-oxide (a molecule that essentially shades out the MRI signal) and a special protein that fluoresces when exposed to blue light. The team then operated on all of the mice, inducing a heart attack in one group. Over the following days, MRI scans showed a gradual darkening around the site of injury in the heart attack group, which was presumably due to the arrival of the labeled MSCs. The researchers validated this migration with fluorescent microscopy.

The goal now is to devise a way to attach an MRI-sensitive marker to MS’s in humans who have suffered a heart attack. This would allow doctors to more closely study these cells, and perhaps devise treatments that can control their migration.

For more information:

Source: American Association of Physicists in Medicine

New MRI contrast agents

Berlin, July 8, 2008 –The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Bayer Schering Pharma’s magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent Primovist® (gadoxetate disodium) for the detection and characterization of liver lesions in adults with known or suspected focal liver disease. The product will be marketed in the United States under the name EOVIST®; it is currently marketed as Primovist outside the U.S. and as EOB Primovist in Japan. It is the first organ-specific MRI contrast agent to be approved in the U.S. for over a decade. Bayer plans to make EOVIST available to customers in the U.S. in the summer of 2008.
“Primovist not only offers the unique benefit of being able to simultaneously detect, locate and distinguish various types of liver lesions, but also helps to guide and follow-up on treatment decisions, as it enables radiologists to identify even tiny pathological liver lesions,” said Dr. Gunnar Riemann, Member of the Board of Management of Bayer Schering Pharma AG, responsible for the company’s Business Units. “Bayer is now in the unique position of offering Primovist for diagnosing patients with liver cancer and Nexavar for treating hepatocellular carcinoma – the most common form of liver cancer.”

More info here



MRI Nueroarm Video