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Scientists at Stanford are working on technology that detects buried plastic explosives. According to them, the technology can be used to spot tumors deep within the human body.

The technique works by delivering microwaves toward the area being examined , exciting the tissue so that it in turn emits ultrasound waves. An ultrasound transducer is then used to detect the signal. Then a computer processes the results to reconstruct the image.

‘The technique works by delivering microwaves toward the area being examined , exciting the tissue so that it in turn emits ultrasound waves.’
The technology fully depends on capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers. These transducers can detect very weak signals that travel through varying media. The device doesn't even have to make a direct contact with the object that's being scanned.

The research team performed experiments using objects stuck into a tissue-like material, which they were able to detect while keeping the device about a foot away from the target.

Source: Medindia

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) revealed a portfolio of data driven radiology solutions at the 2015 Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting (RSNA), beginning today through December 4 at McCormick Place in Chicago. Visitors to the Philips booth (#6736) will experience the company's broad portfolio of integrated Diagnostic Imaging, Clinical Informatics, Image Guided Therapy and Dose Management solutions to increase clinical performance, improve workflow and create a superior patient experience.
EmboGuide 3D live image guidance tool to see, reach and treat tumor lesions. (PRNewsFoto/Royal Philips)
Radiology plays an important role in helping detect and characterize disease at its earliest possible stages; assists in treatment planning and assessment; and helps in the management of overall patient care. Designed to help shorten the time between diagnosis and treatment, Philips' full range of radiology solutions in oncology, neurology and women's health are driving cost-effective, more consistent and higher quality care across the entire hospital enterprise.
"With advancements in data driven digital health technology, radiology has the power to significantly impact the way care is delivered, as it plays a critical role in the majority of healthcare decisions," said Robert Cascella, CEO, Imaging Business Groups, Philips. "By integrating advanced diagnostic imaging technologies with specialized informatics, Philips is helping its customers to enhance the diagnostic process, facilitate seamless collaboration and improve workflow efficiencies – all for the enhancement of patient care."
One of the leading global conferences for radiology, RSNA 2015 will showcase the industry's most promising research and cutting-edge innovations. Advanced technologies in the areas of Health IT, Ultrasound, Diagnostic Imaging, and Image Guided Therapy will be showcased in the Philips booth. The company will also debut new solutions in Dose Management, MR, Diagnostic X-Ray, Radiology Data Intelligence and Advanced Visualization.
Extending the Power of Radiology
Radiology can significantly impact the cost and quality of care through greater integration. From advanced solutions delivering improved images, to expertise in helping to improve workflow efficiencies, Philips technology, services and employee expertise are designed to enable radiology to do more. Key solutions and advanced technologies include:
Diagnostic X-Ray Suite  – Comprehensive imaging portfolio helps enhance workflows and patient care, including SkyFlow, DigitalDiagnost and MobileDiagnost wDR.
IQon Spectral CT – Industry-first spectral-detector CT delivers on-demand spectral quantification and tools, and the ability to characterize structure with simple, low-dose workflows. Philips will demonstrate Spectral Magic Glass on PACS, an integrated feature to review and analyze spectral data retrospectively on the PACS.
Ultrasound Portfolio – Product suite includes EPIQ and Affiniti ultrasound systems, enabling more confidence in diagnosis and improved workflow efficiency, enhancing the patient experience. Additional areas of focus at RSNA 2015 include Lumify, the innovative Ultra Mobile Ultrasound solution that expands the reach of the radiologist, and OmniSphere, a new server-client based ecosystem of tools, applications and solutions to help increase business efficiency and optimize operations.
Vereos Digital PET/CT – Industry's first and only digital PET/CT offers approximately twice the volumetric resolution, sensitivity gain and quantitative accuracy compared to analog systems.
Image Guided Therapy – Philips will feature tailored interventional X-ray suites - NeuroSuite, OncoSuite, and Hybrid Suite - leveraging AlluraClarity  technology and, the latest innovations within the Suites, including EmboGuide  and   VesselNavigator, to address the need for an enhanced 3D imaging solution to support interventional oncology and vascular procedures. Volcano, a Philips business and the global market leader in intra-body imaging and sensing technology, will showcase its integrated offerings related to peripheral vascular disease.
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Empowering radiology to impact entire healthcare institutions and practices
Radiology plays a crucial role in the majority of healthcare decisions, helping to deliver fast results for more timely patient care, improved radiology reports and analytics for informed clinical decisions, and access to clinical informatics across the enterprise. Highlighted products and solutions include:
IntelliSpace PACS – Enterprise image management platform delivers on-demand diagnostic-quality images and patient information to help the care team make informed clinical decisions, improve operational effectiveness, drive financial performance and enhance patient care and satisfaction.
IntelliSpace Portal – One of the most comprehensive solutions for problem detection, diagnostics, and therapy follow up, IntelliSpace Portal offers a full suite of tools to increase accuracy of quantitative measurements and reproducibility, decision support tools to boost diagnostics confidence.
Serving the patient
Philips is focused on shortening the time between diagnosis and treatment to treat cancer quickly and with more accuracy, while empowering patients to be better informed, enabling them to take greater ownership of their health with integrated solutions including:
DoseWise – Industry's first integrated radiation dose management solution to enable health care providers to proactively record, analyze and monitor imaging radiation dose for both patients and clinicians across multiple diagnostic settings.
Mammography Suite – Portfolio delivers superb performance and image quality from screening and diagnosis to monitoring, featuring MicroDose SI and   IntelliSpace Breast .
Philips' MR in-bore experience – Technology helps to improve the patient experience and utilizes AutoVoice and ComforTone to turn the patient exam into an event. Ingenia 1.5T S  is designed for first-time-right imaging and increased patient comfort for a faster workflow;
Philips will also host and participate in several RSNA events focused on integrating patients, practitioners, and process with technology, in addition to several research presentations.
Mammography Lunch and Learn, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 12:30-1:30 p.m., in the South Building, Room S403A – Session will explore the potential of photon counting technology for spectral mammography and tomosynthesis , including details of a clinical study in progress.
MMTT/qEASL Symposium, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 6-8:30 p.m., at the Navy Pier – Philips physician partners from Yale University, MD Anderson and Charité Berlin will discuss the concept of volumetric measurements as a tool for response assessment in cancer treatment.
Diagnostic Radiology Lunch and Learn, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 12:30-1:30 p.m., in the South Building, Room S403B – Dr. Detlef Mentrup, inventor of SkyFlow technology, will discuss new algorithm applications for diagnostic radiology.

(HealthDay News) -- Radiologists believe they've figured out why knuckles crack, and the good news is the source of the noise does no immediate harm to your hand.
Ultrasound readings of people cracking their knuckles reveals a bright flash, "like a firework exploding in the joint," said lead researcher Dr. Robert Boutin, a professor of radiology at University of California, Davis Health System.
The flash comes from a gas bubble forming in the joint, but until now researchers could not agree whether the sound was caused by the bubble popping or the bubble forming, Boutin said.
By syncing the ultrasound with audio, radiologists think they now have the answer, he said.
"In every single case we looked at, we heard the crack before seeing a visible flash on the ultrasound," Boutin said. "The sound is not coming from the bubble popping. It's actually the bubble forming."
Don't blink while observing this, though. "The interval between the sound you hear and the flash you see on the ultrasound is 10 milliseconds," he said.
Boutin was to present the findings Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, in Chicago. Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Between 25 percent and 50 percent of people regularly crack their knuckles, Boutin said. "Patients come in day in and day out asking for guidance about knuckle cracking, because it's very common," he said.
To study the phenomenon, radiologists asked 40 people, aged 18 to 63, to stretch their fingers a total 400 times. Participants included 30 individuals with a history of habitual knuckle cracking and 10 who did not usually crack their knuckles.
The finger stretches caused 62 knuckle cracks. When a knuckle cracked, researchers saw a bright flash caused by a gas bubble forming in nearly all cases, Boutin said.
"There have been several theories over the years and a fair amount of controversy about what's happening in the joint when it cracks," Boutin said. "We're confident that the cracking sound and bright flash on ultrasound are related to the dynamic changes in pressure associated with a gas bubble in the joint."
The bubble is created from dissolved gas that's suspended in fluid that lubricates a person's joints, said Dr. William Palmer, director of musculoskeletal imaging and intervention at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
It appears that when a person stretches their finger, the act creates negative pressure that draws out the gas. "You're yanking on a joint, and then suddenly the seal is broken," Palmer said.
Boutin explained that all of the tiny microbubbles of gas suddenly coalesce into one large bubble, and the crack appears to come from the tiny bubbles crashing together.
Orthopedic experts examined the hands of the participants, and found that the knuckle cracking caused no apparent harm.
"We did not find any swelling or any loss in grip strength in people who were knuckle crackers versus those who weren't knuckle crackers," Boutin said.
In addition, researchers found that knuckles tended to enjoy a significant increase in range of motion after they'd been cracked, Boutin said.
"Maybe that's why people feel better after cracking their knuckles," he said. "It's a feeling of relief from tension caused by dissolved gas in joint fluid."
However, Boutin added that the study was not set up to examine whether knuckle cracking causes long-term damage to joints.
"Any long-term hazard or benefit would have to be studied in a different way," he said.

Premium System Offers Superb Image Quality, Simplicity and Speed
PEABODY, Mass., Nov. 30, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Analogic Corporation (Nasdaq:ALOG), enabling the world's medical imaging and aviation security technology, today announced that it will demonstrate its new bk5000™ ultrasound system at the 101st Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), November 29 - December 4. The newest addition to the flagship BK Ultrasound brand products, the bk5000 is designed to give surgeons the real-time guidance they need in the operating room, seamlessly fitting into the rhythm of the surgical team.
The bk5000 is designed to help surgeons work smarter and faster. The superior image quality of the bk5000 provides surgeons with the anatomical detail they need to help confirm or adjust their procedure in real-time. The new No-Touch Autogain feature rapidly and automatically optimizes image quality without user intervention, independent of depth, by adapting gain to different environments.
"We considered the increasing complexities of healthcare technology, specifically in the operating room, and designed the bk5000 for simplicity," said Jacques Coumans, vice president, chief marketing and scientific officer at Analogic. "The bk5000 addresses the need for fast, high-quality imaging that will help the surgeon make confident decisions."
Analogic will also highlight its breakthrough Sonic Window® handheld ultrasound device designed to improve first stick success in dialysis and other vascular access applications. A self-contained, portable ultrasound device, Sonic Window operates on a rechargeable battery, without power cables or a cart. It is designed to improve success with difficult vascular access by helping clinicians to better assess and visually guide insertion of needles and catheters. The Sonic Window is small and easy to fit in a pocket.
In addition to the bk5000, Analogic will showcase its industry leading family of premium ultrasound systems, and the BioJet™ MRI-ultrasound Fusion system designed to enhance procedure guidance.
The company will also showcase its newest innovative products that deliver breakthrough reliability for the lowest cost of ownership in CT, MRI, and digital mammography. Featured products will include the newest addition to Analogic's CT portfolio; its latest 1.5T RF amplifier for MRI; and its newest Selenium-based, direct-digital detector for mammography. Visit Analogic at Booth #6124 during RSNA 2015. More information may be found at
About Analogic
Analogic (Nasdaq:ALOG) provides leading-edge healthcare and security technology solutions to advance the practice of medicine and save lives. We are recognized around the world for advanced imaging and real-time guidance technologies used for disease diagnosis and treatment as well as for automated threat detection. Our market-leading ultrasound systems, led by our flagship BK Ultrasound brand, used in procedure-driven markets such as urology, surgery, and point-of-care, are sold to clinical practitioners around the world. Our advanced imaging technologies are also used in computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and digital mammography systems, as well as automated threat detection systems for aviation security. Analogic is headquartered just north of Boston, Massachusetts. For more information, visit
Analogic, the globe logo, and Sonic Window are registered trademarks of Analogic Corporation.
bk5000 and BioJet are trademarks of Analogic Corporation or their affiliated companies.

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Adding ultrasound to standard mammography tests in breast screening could result in improved rates of detection for breast cancer in women in Japan, according to a new study, published in The Lancet

Researchers led by Professor Noriaki Ohuchi, from Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, in Miyagi, Japan, recruited more than 70000 women in Japan aged between 40 and 49 to participate in the J-START trial. Half were offered the usual mammography screening, and half were offered ultrasound testing in addition to mammography, with two screening sessions taking place over two years.
The results show that ultrasound combined with mammography resulted in correct identifications of cancer in more than 9 out of 10 cases (91% sensitivity), whereas for women given mammography alone, just over three quarters of tests correctly identified breast cancer (77% sensitivity).
Breast cancer already affects large numbers of women in Europe and the US, but rates are increasing rapidly in Japan and other Asian countries. Early detection and treatment is critically important for reducing deaths from the disease, and many developed countries have implemented mammography screening programmes for the women who are most at risk.
In Asia, breast cancer tends to present at an earlier age than in Europe or the US, and Asian women have denser breast tissue, both of which are known to reduce the accuracy of mammography. As such, detection using standard mammography screening based on European and US practice might miss cases of breast cancer in Asian countries.
In addition to accurately detecting more cases of breast cancer, adding ultrasound to mammography detected more cancers at an early stage (144 cancers at stage 0 or 1, compared to 79 cancers at stage 0 or 1 detected by mammography alone). The addition of ultrasound also resulted in fewer interval cancers (which appear after a negative test result between scheduled rounds of screening), leading researchers to conclude that adding ultrasound to mammography screening detected additional cancers, compared to mammography alone.
While previous studies have suggested that the addition of ultrasound might lead to an excessively high rate of 'false positive' results (where screening results falsely indicate that a cancer is present), these results suggest that the difference in false positive rates between the two testing protocols was small, and could be further reduced by ensuring that mammography and ultrasound test results are analysed together.
"Our results suggest that adding ultrasound to mammography results in more accurate screening results for women in Japan, which could ultimately lead to improved treatment and reduced deaths from the disease," says Professor Ohuchi. "Further work will now be needed to see if these results can be extended to other countries in Asia. In addition, long-term follow-up of these results will determine whether including ultrasound tests in breast cancer screening ultimately affects the likelihood of successful treatment and survival, as we would expect."
In a linked Comment, Martin Yaffe and Roberta Jong from the University of Toronto, Canada, write, "We believe that J-START7 is an important trial for several reasons. It is the first randomised trial of population screening with ultrasonography, and was done in asymptomatic women at average risk, who were not preselected on the basis of other imaging findings. Earlier studies, most of which were done in the USA, involved women at moderate or high risk of breast cancer...Furthermore, the J-START trial was done in relatively young women. Despite evidence of mammography screening effectively reducing mortality in women in their 40s, this method is seldom recommended or provided for women younger than 50 years. Definitive evidence of whether ultrasonography screening of women from age 40 years can further reduce breast cancer mortality could be an important step."

"Tricorder-Like" Technology Could Provide Contact-Free Ultrasound
By Suzanne Hodsden

Video screencap courtesy of Arbabian Lab / Stanford University
Stanford Scientists have developed “tricorder-like” technology using radio frequency and ultrasound to detect embedded objects in highly dispersive materials, such as water, mud, or human tissue. Though the technology was originally intended to safely locate buried explosives, the research team plans to use its research to develop a more portable medical imaging device capable of detecting early-stage cancer.
In 2012, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched a program that would grant funding to research investigating new methods for detecting plastic improvised explosive devices (IEDs) without putting military personnel at risk of a possible detonation. So far, the project — named Methods for Explosive Detection at Standoff (MEDS) — has issued seven grants to tech companies and academic institutions, including Quasar Federal Systems, University of Arizona, Northeastern University, and Stanford.
Researchers told Stanford News that all objects expand or contract when exposed to electromagnetic waves, and these expansions and contractions produce specific ultrasonic waves, which can be interpreted into images.  Fetal ultrasound works this way, but the transducer is held to the mother’s skin to reduce transmission loss in the air.
Since the DARPA challenge stipulated that the method must be contact-free, the team accommodated for the necessary distance by building a capacitive micromachined ultrasosnic transducer (CMUT), designed to pick up weaker signals in the air.
“What makes the tricorder the Holy Grail of detection devices is that the instrument never touches the subject,” said electrical engineer Amin Arbabian, who led the research.  “All the measurements are made through the air, and that’s where we’ve made the biggest strides.”
In a paper published in Applied Physics Letters, researchers demonstrated proof of concept for their radio frequency/ultrasound hybrid technology and told Stanford News their ideas could easily translate into a medical indication with the next five to fifteen years.
“We think we could develop instrumentation sufficiently sensitive to disclose the presence of tumors, and perhaps other health anomalies, much earlier than current detection systems, non-intrusively and with a handheld portable device,” said Arbabian.
Though it’s not yet clear how imaging quality would compare to existing MRI, CT, and X-ray technology, Arbabian told Tech.Mic his team’s technology would be much less expensive, easier to power, more portable, and potentially safer. While he doesn’t see an at-home application in its future, he suggested that the device could be used bedside by trained technicians.
The University of Arizona, which was also granted funding from MEDS, adapted its existing breast cancer research into potential IED detection. Arizona researchers also used microwaves and ultrasounds, but they use a novel spectroscopic process to create an ultrasound image.
According to Popular Science, the Stanford technology isn’t the first to explore the potential of tricorder-like capabilities, and other approaches have used mass spectrometry or magnetic resonance to detect disease. Last year, the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize promised $10 million to creators of a device that could detect no less than 15 diseases and monitor vitals for 72 hours.

Sunnybrook doctor first to perform blood-brain barrier procedure using focused ultrasound waves
Wency Leung
Dr. Todd Mainprize leaned over and peered through his wire-rim glasses at a computer screen showing the brain scan of his brain cancer patient, Bonny Hall, who lay in a magnetic resonance imaging machine (MRI) in the adjacent room.
“This has gone exactly the way we hoped,” the neurosurgeon said, crossing his arms.
He smiled and nodded. His experimental procedure had been a success.
Here in the S-wing of Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital, Mainprize and his research team accomplished on Thursday what no one in the world has ever done before: Using focused ultrasound waves, they have opened the human blood-brain barrier, paving the way for future treatment of an array of currently impossible or hard-to cure-illnesses – from brain cancer to certain forms of depression, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
The blood-brain barrier is an extremely selective filter that Mainprize likens to cling film, which coats the blood vessels in the brain, preventing harmful substances in the bloodstream from passing through. Though its function is to protect the brain, this barrier has limited doctors’ ability to treat diseases, such as tumours, using drugs like chemotherapy to target specific areas of the brain.
By successfully opening the blood-brain barrier, “that will allow us to use many, many more medications in the brain than we can currently use,” said Dr. Kullervo Hynynen, director of physical sciences at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, who developed the technology used in the experimental procedure.
Hynynen said about 98 per cent of molecules that could potentially be used for brain treatments cannot currently be used because they cannot get through the blood-brain barrier. This includes antibodies, which in animal studies have been shown to remove brain plaques involved in Alzheimer’s disease, or stem cells, which could be used to treat stroke patients. Thus, he says, the ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier will “revolutionize” brain medicine.
Previous methods of circumventing this cling film-like coating have been inconsistent and difficult to control, or invasive, such as inserting microcatheters through the skull to inject drugs directly into the brain. But by using focused ultrasound, the Toronto researchers have demonstrated a way of breaching the blood-brain barrier that is non-invasive, selective (or contained within a specific area), reversible and, the researchers believe, safe.
Here’s how it works: Medication is first introduced into a patient’s bloodstream – in this case, a chemotherapy drug called liposomal doxorubicin. Next, microbubbles, or tiny air bubbles, which are typically used as a contrast medium to enhance visibility in ultrasound imaging, are intravenously delivered into the bloodstream. Using MRI to locate their target area, doctors then send focused ultrasound waves, causing the microbubbles in the brain’s capillaries to expand and contract. This expansion and contraction creates little tears in the cling film-like layer of endothelial cells of the blood-brain barrier, allowing the drug molecules to pass through into the brain to the targeted areas.
The microbubbles themselves do not cross the barrier and disappear within minutes, passing through the lungs. Meanwhile, the tiny tears in the blood-brain barrier close up again between an estimated eight to 12 hours.
The appearance of bright spots, the size of pinkie fingerprints, on the MRI images of Bonny Hall’s brain allowed Mainprize to immediately see that he had accomplished what he set out to do.
“This white spot and this white spot is where we opened the blood-brain barrier,” he said, pointing to the computer screen.
In the days previous, Hall, 56, of Tiny, Ont., was anxious yet eager to be the first patient to undergo the procedure.
“I think that someone has to go first,” Hall said, noting she empathized with the first patient to be treated with penicillin. “I kind of feel that way.”
Hall discovered her brain tumour eight years ago, though doctors at the time found it was benign. About five months ago, however, they found it had become cancerous and had grown to about five centimetres by three centimetres – about the size of a miniature candy bar – on the right side of her head, just above her ear.
Although the tumour caused no pain, Hall experienced what she described as “little blips,” or small 10– to 20-second seizures during which she would feel “spaced out.”
On the morning of the procedure, as the chemotherapy drug dripped into her arm, Hall said she was looking forward to getting her life back to normal.
“Seeing people here really suffer,” she said of the other patients at the hospital’s cancer centre, “I really do hope this will work for them some day.”
The following morning, after determining it possible to open the blood-brain barrier, Mainprize performed traditional surgery to remove Hall’s tumour. He carefully cut open a hand-sized flap of skin and muscle and removed part of her skull, extracting a white mass of tissue. The tumour will be analyzed over the next week to determine how much of the chemotherapy effectively passed through the blood-brain barrier.
The next step for the research team will be to repeat the focused ultrasound procedure on nine additional patients to show it can be replicated safely.
The possibilities for future research, Mainprize said, are enormous. “With ... this technique, you can selectively open almost anywhere in the brain and deliver whatever you want,” he said. “Essentially, whatever you can think of is a potential study that may help in the future.”
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