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Editor's e-Note
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is upon us, and Radiology Today salutes those in the profession who do everything in their power to make a difference.

The ratio of benefit to consequence is a tightrope radiologists walk every day, and regulatory bodies need to take a staggering amount of information into account when revising protocols. Researchers at Purdue University are compiling evidence in favor of 7 T MRI breast scans, in the belief that any associated tissue heating concerns can be mitigated, and hoping that regulatory agencies see things their way.

What’s your take? Keep in touch, as we love to get your perspectives and feedback on Twitter and/or Facebook.

— Dave Yeager, editor
e-News Exclusive
Simulations of Breast Tissue Argue in Favor of 7 T Breast Scans, Researchers Say

No two women have identical breast tissue, so MRIs intended to detect and monitor cancer shouldn’t treat them all the same.

More informative cancer detection is possible with stronger magnetic fields that, unfortunately, increase the risk of tissue heating during a screening. Without a way to prove that a new MRI protocol is safe for all women, clinical MRIs haven’t been able to keep pace with the latest advances in MRI research.

Purdue University researchers have simulated how more than 20 different breast tissue ratios respond to heat given off by MRIs at 7 T, a higher field strength than is presently available in hospitals. The simulations, they say, demonstrate that cutting-edge MRI techniques meet safety limits—as defined by regulatory entities including the FDA—and should herald clinical trials for real-life use.

Furthermore, the knowledge of how much radiofrequency energy each breast tissue ratio can handle could be harnessed into new techniques that target the heat produced from an MRI directly at tumors—providing physicians with another weapon against cancer.

Despite the limitations of clinical field strengths, a yearly MRI screening is still recommended for women with higher than average risk of breast cancer because it’s more sensitive than a standard mammogram.

“We’re starting to develop techniques at high field strengths that could immediately monitor how tumors respond to treatment. So we don’t want tissue heating concerns to stand in the way of improving such a powerful tool,” says Joseph Rispoli, PhD, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Purdue.

Full story »
Other Imaging News
‘Chaotic Sensing’ Could Streamline MRI Process
An Australian researcher has discovered a novel fractal arising from a mathematical function known as the discrete Fourier transform. The discovery has led to “chaotic sensing,” which, according to IEEE Xplore, has the potential to shorten MRI exams.

Noninvasive NIR Imaging Tracks Brain Shrinkage
European researchers have used time-resolved near-infrared, or tr-NIR, which offers certain advantages over CT and MRI, to track brain atrophy in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, according to an article in Biomedical Optics Express.

UK Reviews Imaging Protocols
The newly constituted Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch is addressing overall communication among the United Kingdom’s health practitioners. Of particular note is a missed opportunity involving a patient’s X-rays, according to a special bulletin.

Radiographs Reveal Anatomy of Two-Headed Snake
The Wildlife Center of Virginia, in cooperation with the state’s leading herpetologist, recently admitted a very rare patient: a two-headed Eastern Copperhead. Imaging has provided insights that give the snake the best chances of survival, the researchers say.
Worth Repeating
“There is a national shortage of trained radiologists in Highland. It is more difficult to attract people into what is perceived as a remote area. We are maintaining the service by making use of modern technology.”

Rod Harvey, MD, of Scotland’s NHS Highland hospital, regarding a large-scale defection of radiologists from the Inverness region, as reported by The Press and Journal
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