Term Paper: Radiology and Cyberspace the Creation

Pages: 9 (3041 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Health - Nursing  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] Raymond Damadian continued this work until he produced the first full body MRI scanner in 1977. David Kuhl first developed emission reconstruction tomography in 1962, which resulted in the imaging techniques called PET and SPECT (Thomas).

Imaging of Today

Today's Radiology, while still concerned with producing an internal image of the human body using minimally invasive techniques, has grown and diversified by using the more advanced technology available today. Modern images provide higher quality while keeping patient exposure to harmful energy levels low.

Film quality has advanced greatly with the development of automated processing, eliminating the risk of human error in manual processing. Most radiology departments now possess an automatic processor which greatly enhances the time to development and diagnosis.

Digital imaging using computers and other electronic devices provide the availability of 'filmless' processing, lowering costs. Computer generated images can be enhanced and captured online, and transferred over the Internet to other computers for consultation with Radiologists in other parts of the world. These images are also easier to store and do not deteriorate in the same way as images processed on film.

Equipment in Radiology has also advanced. Modern x-ray and other imaging machinery is smaller and more easily transported, while producing superior images. Modern technology makes it possible to take such equipment to the patient, for greater access to healthcare in rural areas and instantaneous delivery of images from ambulances, allowing physicians to be apprised of patient condition even before arrival at the hospital (Willis, par 1).

Modern methods of imaging are also more advanced. Transmission imaging, used in x-rays, CT scans and others produce beams high-energy photon beams, which are passed through the body. The increased focusing and concentration of these beams in modern technology allows higher quality images to be generated. Reflection imaging, including ultrasound, has also increased in quality. Rather than passing through body structures, reflection imaging uses waves that bounce off of body structures at different speeds. Computer analysis of these reflected waves provide clear and concise images of the body.

The Future of Radiology

As Radiology continues to advance, the use of computers in imaging becomes of greater importance. Increased use of 'filmless' imaging allows Radiologists to share consultations with others anywhere in the world. Images can also be shared with customers online. This is particularly useful with images such as those produced with ultrasound where images are moving.

Another area in which emerging technology will affect Radiology is in computer enhanced evaluation of images. Changes in tissue and body structures too small or elusive for even the trained eye to see may be uncovered with the aid of computer programs. Computers will also likely scan images for abnormalities that will then be flagged for more intense review by the physician.

Increasing use of color in diagnostic imaging, particularly in ultrasound imaging, shows signs of enhancing visual identification of internal structures. Color in the ultrasound imaging of fetuses already provides a much clearer picture of infant features. This makes reading images easier and more reliable.

Computer aided design will likely become an important tool in the education and training of both the radiologist and radiology technician of the future (Giger and Vyborny, par 3). Computer simulations of bodies with injury or disease will increasingly be developed as a training tool. These simulations will allow students to take medical history, ascertain symptoms, prescribe and perform diagnostic tests and design treatment online, using case histories. These technologies can simulate real world situations under life-like conditions.

In addition, new technologies are making new treatment and therapy available. Increasingly, chemotherapy is being used in conjunction with radiation therapy, as it has been found that they each have the tendency to improve the effects of the other. Interoperative irradiation is being used during surgery to directly target radiation therapy on a tumor or other mass. This decreases the area and amount of tissue to receive radiation and lowers patient exposure to high levels of energy during treatment for cancer, where the patient may already be weak. Stereotactic irradiation is also used, particularly for brain cancer treatment. Modern technology allows the use of very narrow, very precise beams of radiation at high levels.

Other new forms of therapy include particle radiation therapy and three dimensional conformal radiation therapy which allows the precise definition of the borders of cancerous tissue or tumors which enhances radiation therapy and makes surgery easier.

Conclusion

While the field of Radiology has always been at the forefront, by its very nature, of the development and use of new technology, the development of computers and Internet technology has caused an explosion in the field. New methods of diagnostic imaging and therapy are introduced almost daily, and, as technology grows, more uses can be visualized. Computers are playing a leading role in the production of enhanced, moving images in real time. Long waits for plate and film development, and longer waits while images are sent through the post to be read are a thing of the past. Real-time online consultations between physicians at opposite ends of the country are now possible while the images are being scanned. Images can be taken in rural areas and read by radiologists almost instantly. Ambulances can scan and send images while patients are being transported to the hospital. Computer images can be enhanced to show features too small to see in normal images and the addition of color makes reading images faster and easier. All of these elements make the diagnosis and treatment of patients more rapid and more reliable. 'Cyberspace' is providing an arena for great strides in Radiography.

Until the 1980s the techniques needed to store reports and films had changed little since the 1920s. Modern technology is transforming departments with the introduction of computer management systems and digital image storage. This last technique will dramatically alter the use of images with studies being transferred via links between different institutions and offices. The last 100 years have produced many changes and the next 100 will be even more dramatic (Thomas, par 24).

Bibliography

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