Today marks the first annual International Day of Medical Physics, recognizing the work of medical physicists worldwide in ensuring and improving the safety and quality of radiation in medicine. Medical physics is broadly divided in three categories: diagnostic radiology, radiation oncology, and nuclear medicine physics. In each discipline, medical physicists are responsible for developing and implementing new technologies to improve the diagnosis/treatment of patients while minimizing the exposure to ionizing radiation. Medical physicists are actively engaged in research and development, as well as clinical work to ensure the safety of patients and clinicians.
Marie Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize in both Physics and Chemistry for her pioneering theory of radioactivity and discovery of Radium and Polonium, and remains the only person to ever be awarded Nobel Prizes in multiple disciplines. Celebrated on the anniversary of her birth, the International Day of Medical Physics draws attention to her legacy and the future of radiation in medicine.
Cervical-cancer screening is one of the 20th century’s true public health successes. The incidence of a disease that once caused more deaths among American women than any other form of cancer has decreased dramatically since the introduction of routine Pap smears in the 1970s. In the modern era, most deaths due to cervical cancer occur among women who have never been screened or who have gone decades without screening. One of the main factors in helping to conquer this once-dreaded disease has been the availability of a cheap, effective screening test that can detect disease early, while it’s still very treatable. Yet increasingly, in my roles as the chief medical officer of a community health center and as a family doctor seeing patients in that system, I hear from women who are choosing to skip their screenings because of skyrocketing costs.
This is perhaps one of the more compelling use scenarios for wearable computers. Wristwatch-computers with biometric sensors for medical purposes not only will contribute to the “quantified-self" movement, but may further the role of data-driven personalized medicine.
Apple has allegedly hired a number of experts in the field non-intrusive medical sensors, ranging from vein mapping to glucose tracking, potentially revealing some of the company’s interests in developing a wrist-worn smart accessory.
Cortex: The 3D-Printed Cast
After many centuries of splints and cumbersome plaster casts that have been the itchy and smelly bane of millions of children, adults and the aged alike the world over, we at last bring fracture support into the 21st century. The Cortex exoskeletal cast provides a highly technical and trauma zone localized support system that is fully ventilated, super light, shower friendly, hygienic, recyclable and stylish.
The cortex cast utilizes the x-ray and 3d scan of a patient with a fracture and generates a 3d model in relation to the point of fracture.
By Jake Evill
The American Association of Physicists in Medicine has released its report on the effective dose delivered by full-body airport scanners. The conclusion: an effective dose of 11.1 nSv, equivalent to 1.8 minutes of background radiation, or 12 seconds of air travel.
The average corrected air kerma measurement across the systems evaluated was 0.046 μGy (for each master or slave unit which together comprise a scanner). For a standard man of 178.6 cm (510) tall and 73.2 kg (161.4 pounds), the effective dose from a single-pose, two-sided scan was determined to be 11.1 nSv (nSv = 10–9Sv) and the skin dose to be 40.4 nGy (nGy = 10–9 Gy). This effective dose is equivalent to 1.8 minutes of background dose received by the average individual in the U.S. in 2006 and is approximately equivalent to 12 seconds of naturally occurring dose during an average flight.
First came the fitness trackers. Wearable electronic sensors like the Fitbit, Nike FuelBand, Jawbone Up, and Withings have taken off in recent years, letting users automatically collect oodles of…
A team of physicians and biomedical engineers create a bioresorbable airway splint for an infant using a high-resolution CT, computer-aided design and 3D printing technologies. An incredible glimpse at the future of personalized medicine.
To build 2 million square feet is in itself a task, but to relate 2 million square feet to the individuals within, rather than produce rooms with numbers on them is really our task. We have to create what I call ‘villages of space.’
- Bertrand Goldberg, Conversations With Architects, 1973
I’ve really grown to love the unusual architecture of Stony Brook University’s Health Sciences Center and University Hospital complex, designed by renown architect Bertrand Goldberg in the 1960s-1970s. The incredible scope of the project, unique use of space and bold design have given me a great sense of appreciation of the complex.
The architect’s description of the project is well worth the read.
Despite ubiquitous assurances that “There’s an app for that,” one thing not included in the “that” is the detection of soil-transmitted helminths in human beings. (Helminths are the scientific name for hookworms and their nasty little friends.) Hookworm is a particular problem in developing nations without access to proper medical screening facilities, and Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a Canadian internal medicine specialist, figured out a clever way to tackle that with an extraordinarily simple smartphone hack.