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Editor's e-Note
Due to its versatility and the fact that it doesn’t use ionizing radiation, ultrasound is already in wide use. This month’s newsletter highlights a novel study that uses ultrasound measurements to help determine whether infants will need treatment for hip dysplasia, potentially reducing overtreatment.

What is the predominant use of ultrasound in your facility? Give a holler on Twitter and/or Facebook.

Enjoy the newsletter.

— Dave Yeager, editor
e-News Exclusive
Ultrasound Technique Predicts Hip Dysplasia in Infants

A technique that uses ultrasound images to determine the depth and shape of the hip socket can accurately predict which infants with hip dysplasia will develop normal hip structure and which remain dysplastic, according to a study in Radiology. Researchers say statistical shape modeling improves on existing techniques and could spare many infants from unnecessary treatment.

Developmental dysplasia of the hip occurs when a baby’s hip socket is too shallow to cover the head of the thigh bone. In severe cases, the thigh bone can become dislocated from the hip entirely. According to the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, 1 in 10 infants are born with hip instability, meaning the hips can be wiggled in the socket because of loose ligaments. After birth, most will tighten up naturally. One in 100 infants will need treatment for hip dysplasia.

There is no consensus on how and when to treat stable hip dysplasia (Graf type 2, as determined by the Graf classification system). It is estimated that about 80% of stable Graf 2 hips will develop to normal without treatment. But since there is no way to differentiate those that will develop to normal in the future, compared with those that will not, a large percentage of stable cases are likely to be overtreated, according to study senior author Ralph J. B. Sakkers, MD, PhD, from the department of orthopedic surgery at the University Medical Center Utrecht in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Overtreatment has significant drawbacks.

“The most important negative consequences of overtreatment are the financial and logistical burdens for parents and society,” Sakkers says. “Medical consequences of overtreatment are relatively rare, but the risk is not zero. If there is a rare medical consequence, this would probably be avascular necrosis of the hip, due to nonproper use of the treatment device.”

Avascular necrosis is a disease that results from the temporary or permanent loss of blood supply to the bone.

Full story »
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Worth Repeating
“So pretty early on after my own separation, I was fortunate to run into biological anthropologist Helen Fisher. And in 2011, she did some really interesting studies in an MRI looking at the brains of people who had been dumped by their partners. And what she found was that parts of the brain were activated that are associated with addiction and craving because people were still yearning for and missing their lost partners. And since then, other researchers in MRI studies have found that the social pain of heartbreak winds up somewhat closely with parts of the brain that process physical pain, showing that social pain is taken as seriously in our brains as physical pain—[it] produces all kinds of signals that change our behavior.”

Florence Williams, author of Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey, regarding the role of functional MRI in quantifying emotion, in an interview with NPR
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