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Medical Imaging With a Hacked LCD Projector

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the convergent-technology dept.

Medicine 57

An anonymous reader writes "Grad students at UC Irvine have built a spatial frequency domain imaging system using parts from a cheap LCD projector and a digital camera. The system can be used to check the level of bruising or oxygenation in layers of tissue that aren't visible to the naked eye, according to an article in Chemical and Engineering News. An accompanying video shows the series of patterned pulses that the improvised imaging system makes in order to read hemoglobin and fat levels below the surface of the skin. A more sophisticated version of the imaging system is being commercialized by a startup within UC Irvine, called Modulated Imaging. The article and video also describe infrared brain scanners that can non-invasively check for brain bleeds, and multiphoton microscopes that produce stunning images of live skin cells."

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57 comments

Great, except for the FDA (2, Insightful)

berzerke (319205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580046)

This is great, but the problem is the FDA has these rules about medical devices and the testing and requirements and redtape you have wade through before this device can be legally used in a medical environment.

dont thank us (2)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580182)

thank the Dalkon Shield, and several dozen other money grubbing, lying murderers who caused the FDA to behave like it does.

Re:dont thank us (1)

MichaelKristopeit502 (2018076) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580260)

the manufacturers of the dalkon shield were held accountable in court for many millions of dollars.

contraception is not murder, so perhaps moronic zealots like you cause the FDA to behave like it does.

caveat emptor, pal.

Re:dont thank us (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580346)

I don't think the GP was implying that the folks behind the Dalkon Shield were murders, but there have been many like them over the years that have resulted in fatalities because the device didn't work as advertised or was resulted in an unnecessary fatality.

Re:dont thank us (1)

MichaelKristopeit351 (1968158) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580430)

again.... caveat emptor, pal.

please tell me more about necessary fatalities.

please tell me why i shouldn't be allowed to purchase and install a medical device if i am convinced it serves a purpose that would be beneficial to me, even if the FDA isn't convinced?

"land of the free, home of the brave"????

Re:dont thank us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38580522)

please tell me why i shouldn't be allowed to purchase and install a medical device if i am convinced it serves a purpose that would be beneficial to me, even if the FDA isn't convinced?

You can purchase and install it. Just don't advertise it until you have fucking proof.

Re:dont thank us (-1, Flamebait)

MichaelKristopeit352 (1968160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580582)

FDA approval is not proof, moron. talk to the owners of a menaflex knee replacements about the "proof" of their merchantability.

considering i'd have to ask a merchant about their products before purchase, and considering such answers could be construed as advertisements, i can't purchase or install it without breaking federal law.

just don't post ramblings anonymously on the internet when you don't have any fucking sense.

you're an idiot.

Re:dont thank us (4, Informative)

dmr001 (103373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581260)

Sheesh, touchy! FDA approval is based on (typically manufacturer-funded and run) studies that are supposed to prove the safety and efficacy of the drug or medical device. It may not always be perfect, but it is based on holding companies to well-designed, well-run studies - you know, the scientific method.

The Dalkon Shield (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalkon_shield) was approved based on flawed studies, and was a frickin' dirt magnet, with woven strings and plenty of nooks and crannies into which bacteria could set up shop (in the normally sterile intrauterine environment), risking septic shock in users: that is, it killed not just fetuses, but moms.

You may also recall the sad case of thalidomide (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thalidomide), in wide use throughout Europe, but denied approval by (a brave, lone) FDA staffer based on inadequate study data. We can now thank our lucky stars she did so, given limb reduction deformities that only later on were attributed to the drug (at least in its racemic form).

There is an example of a market of pharmacologically active compounds not approved by the FDA: herbs and dietary supplements. Most of them purport to "support health" and relieve a variety of ailments, and the market is in the $US billions, but the number shown to actually work better than placebo in the sort of study the FDA uses for drugs hovers slightly above zero. In terms of what people actually use in common practice (well, my practice anyway - I'm a cheapskate family physician who sticks to older generic drugs) herbs and supplements aren't significantly cheaper. I've got quite a few sophisticated (and not so sophisticated) patients who use supplements regularly, based on thin or non-existant evidence, including a fair amount of folks who are going to die sooner (for example, by avoiding cholesterol medicine despite heart conditions) as a result of wanting to stick to "natural medicine." Caveat emptor, I suppose.

Re:dont thank us (0)

MichaelKristopeit410 (2018830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581462)

you think i'm touchy? that is very telling. you're an idiot.

"proof" is based on "proof" (typically things that are provable). i'd assume "fucking proof" should conform to the same mandates.

cower in my shadow some more behind your chosen license plate based pseudonym, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:dont thank us (0)

MichaelKristopeit414 (2018850) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585216)

You may also recall the sad case of thalidomide (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thalidomide), in wide use throughout Europe, but denied approval by (a brave, lone) FDA staffer based on inadequate study data. We can now thank our lucky stars she did so, given limb reduction deformities that only later on were attributed to the drug (at least in its racemic form).

attribution =/= proof... you know, the basis of the "scientific method"?

The Dalkon Shield (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalkon_shield) was approved based on flawed studies, and was a frickin' dirt magnet, with woven strings and plenty of nooks and crannies into which bacteria could set up shop (in the normally sterile intrauterine environment), risking septic shock in users: that is, it killed not just fetuses, but moms.

you know what else has woven strings and is put in the intrauterine environment? tampons. they also present risk of septic shock to their users. how could the FDA be so careless as to allow their continued distribution??

you're an idiot.

Re:dont thank us (1)

asylumx (881307) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586274)

Tampons aren't left in the intrauterine environment for a decade at a time, they are changed several times per day during the one week per month they are even used. Not to mention, they aren't placed in an intrauterine (inside uterus) environment, they are placed in the vaginal canal. That is a terrible analogy to use then call someone else an idiot.

Re:dont thank us (1)

MichaelKristopeit415 (2018852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586376)

i called them an idiot for invoking the scientific method where it was not properly being applied.

tampons have lead to septic shock in very many cases.

you're an idiot.

cower in my shadow some more behind your chosen workhouse based pseudonym, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:dont thank us (1)

dmr001 (103373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586990)

For those playing along at home, Michael is referring to Toxic Shock Syndrome (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxic_shock_syndrome), which occurred in some cases with the Rely super-absorbent tampon, no longer on the market for this reason. And, tampon boxes in the US now include warnings not to use tampons continuously and to watch out for fever (http://www.nytimes.com/1982/06/22/us/us-sets-new-rules-for-warning-labels-on-tampon-boxes.html).

It's not clear to me if Michael (and his various dogs and guns - see his fascinating journal!) is advocating for a stronger FDA or a weaker one (based on their inability to predict all potential hazards of all medical devices and drugs); I think this is a clear example of a government agency doing its job and preventing significant harm among its citizens.

Re:dont thank us (1)

MichaelKristopeit416 (2018860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587084)

who are you talking to? are you playing? i'm not referring to toxic shock syndrome. stop attributing claims to me that i have not made. i do not have or contribute to a journal. whatever you are referring to was not authored by me.

what i am talking about is ignorant hypocrisy, and the removal of rights from citizens by a corrupt and ineffective government.

caveat emptor, pal. if you can't take care of yourself, what makes you think that others could take care of you?

cower in my shadow some more behind your chosen license plate based pseudonym, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:dont thank us (3, Informative)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581432)

Because a hundred years ago or so the public just got fed up with all these incredibly dangerous medical devices and procedures out there, all advertised as safe by outright quacks and fraudsters and plenty of people who believed deeply that what they sold was safe. So laws were passed that medical devices and procedures need to be tested for safety. Now certainly you're allowed to build your own device that does the same thing if you want, but you can not sell the product to other people without proving that it's safe first.

In other words, you're allowed to be unsafe to yourself but you can't be unsafe if it involves other people.

The customers are not medical experts and so they rely on others to tell them if something is safe or not. Radium used to be given to people for medical purposes and everyone basically knew it was safe because radiation was the current wonder drug, and doctors swore by it, except that they were flat out wrong and caused vast numbers of deaths from cancer.

Re:dont thank us (1)

MichaelKristopeit410 (2018830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581496)

life caused vast numbers of deaths from cancer.

if i'm allowed to be "unsafe" to myself, and you're allowed to be "unsafe" to yourself, what justification is there to not allow us from being "unsafe" to ourselves together?

safety can not be proven, only the appearance of safety can be observed.

in other words, you're an ignorant hypocrite.

Re:dont thank us (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38582162)

Nice one, do you suck your mother's cock with that mouth?

Re:dont thank us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38583186)

Nice one, do you suck your mother's cock with that mouth?

Yes he does - but first he coats it in lead paint. It's a taste he developed growing up - the pig pen was coated in lead paint. It's where he met his current wife (SharkLaser) and courted her - i loves yur curlee tale you fukin idiot i loves u ruff ruff fukin idiot i got guns u hide in my shadow fukin idiot who stole muh capitals ruff ruff fukin idiot

APK

Re:dont thank us (1)

MichaelKristopeit414 (2018850) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585164)

ur mum's face coats your mother's cock in lead paint.

yes she does.

cower in my shadow some more behind your chosen android application package based pseudonym, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:dont thank us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38590730)

Wait, what? Do you not see the crucial difference when money is involved?

Presumably you can be unsafe with whoever wants to join you, so long as nobody is selling anything. Even then you might conceivably be charged with something like reckless endangerment but of course IANAL.

Ideally, one should not be able to profit from risking another person's life without their knowledge or consent. Note that this still allows me to run an extreme sports business. :-)

--klodefactor

Re:dont thank us (1)

MichaelKristopeit417 (2018862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38590810)

do you not see the crucial difference in stopping someone from selling something, and stopping someone from buying something?

life itself is a risk.

alcohol and tobacco are legal.

you're an ignorant hypocrite. YAAIH.

cower in my shadow some more behind your chosen ray brown short fiction based pseudonym, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:Great, except for the FDA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38580694)

These type of diagnostic devices have a very light regulation since it has no imminent risk of death like some medical implants. Pre-FDA era medical technologies did indeed kill people due to unsound science and unchecked greed. If you consider the fact that a sick person would do anything to get better, it becomes clear why some regulation is necessary.

Re:Great, except for the FDA (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38582638)

That's what grad students are for.

-A BLI grad student.

Re:Great, except for the FDA (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600714)

I think that is a sort-of thing. If you don't actually market it as a medical device, then it isn't regulated as a medical device. You can use 50 cent light-bulbs in a hospital room, for example. Of course, using something not certified as a medical device to make a diagnosis could subject you to liability, so there is a line to walk. Oh, and most insurers won't pay for things that aren't certified. So, if you're charging for an office visit and the doctor pulls out one of these then that wouldn't matter much, but if you're a diagnostic center and you want to bill simply for doing the scan, then forget it most likely.

south africa (0)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580170)

They invented the artificial heart... but most its population could not receive the simplest of medical care. That was called 'backwards' and 'repressive', and yet we are slowly reproducing the same model in the US.

Re:south africa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38580216)

Two Rules:

1. The rich will always have it better.

2. Attempts to change rule no. 1 will only make things worse.

Re:south africa (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580366)

We're not moving to Apartheid any more than we're moving to Naziism in the US. Sure things are bad, but let's try to keep a little bit of perspective. I don't see any calls for rounding up massive numbers of people to throw in camps nor is there anybody presently in prison solely for speaking out against abuses of power by the government either.

Re:south africa (3, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580540)

3.1% of the US adult population is in Jail, Prison, Probation or parole. 22% of those for drug offenses and over 50% for non violent crimes. We have the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Double or even triple the rate of any other industrialized nation and dwarfing even totalitarian regimes like North Korea or Iran. We have some of the longest prison terms in the world for non-violent offenses. Or current prison population is the highest its been in US history and is over 5x the second highest peek in our history during the great depression. No, we're Nazi Germany... in the US the justice system is blind to your race... just not your wallet.

Re:south africa (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580714)

I think thats better than New Zealand, where murders roam free after a few years and kill even more people while on patrole who then get thousands of dollars of free medical care because they were shot in the leg by an officer while on the run after they shot and killed an innocent man. Not pointing [safe-nz.org.nz] any fingers...

Re:south africa (1)

slowLearner (2498468) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580904)

It's easy to find cases that exempt you from having a reasonable argument. One finds "mentalists" in every environment, at least he is in prison. I find NZ to be a safe place to walk, my front and back house doors are regularly left open and my child can play in the garden without being harassed. We moved here from Scotland where there is violence, drug and gang related problems as well as the religious bigotry and class structures. Not saying that NZ doesn't have it's problems but where I live it is better than where I used to live.

Re:south africa (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581032)

He committed a crime, went to prison. Got out and committed a crime right off the bat. As a result, he's now in prison long enough that he'll be too feeble to commit a crime when he gets out. What's the problem again?

Re:south africa (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581840)

a standard "Life" sentence in NZ offers parole in 10 years

Re:south africa (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581890)

But the page you linked says he is eligible for release in 2033 (but not assured of it). He did 14 years the first time around. It's not really supporting your point very well.

Re:south africa (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38582490)

Its a bit off topic but he is a special case, its his second murder, there is also aggravated assault and attempted murder in there as well, along with assault and attempted murder of inmate while in prison. If you look at other murderers on that website they mostly have 10 years non-parole period with manslaughter going from 3 to 7 years

Re:south africa (2)

Alphadecay27 (1277022) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581312)

So the knowledge that lots of non-violent offenders and pot heads are locked up in the US comforts you enough that you can ignore the fact that you are 2.7X more likely to be murdered in the US (*murder rate 4.8/100K) than in NZ (*1.76/100K) ?

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate [wikipedia.org]

I'd say that statistically speaking, whatever they are doing seems to be working better than the US strategy. Your one piece of anecdotal evidence doesn't change that.

Re:south africa (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581328)

Yeah, that's really fair, you do realize that North Korea summarily executes people, right? Of course they're going to have a low incarceration rate the entire country is effectively a prison and 10% of the population has starved to death over the reign of Kim Jong IL.

Iran is very much the same way, they don't tend to keep people in prison very long, they execute people fairly regularly for things like witchcraft and sodomy.

As for your bit about non-violent crimes, doesn't matter whether they're non-violent or not, they're still crimes and civil disobedience is really only appropriate in cases where there isn't a working democracy in action.

Re:south africa (1)

Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583392)

We're not moving to Apartheid any more than we're moving to Naziism in the US. Sure things are bad, but let's try to keep a little bit of perspective. I don't see any calls for rounding up massive numbers of people to throw in camps nor is there anybody presently in prison solely for speaking out against abuses of power by the government either.

You may "believe" that - but maybe you should get out a little more.... I've travelled around most of the US, and been there many times - lots of nice people, many of them woefully ignorant. I also travelled through SA in the apartheid era (and was briefly locked up in a backlash against my country for boycotting the apartheid regime, nicest people I met in SA were in Durban gaol).

But in all the world (and I've travelled most of it) only the US and it's unofficial states (like Jamaica) has black ghettos - and in most states of the US you find towns have two sides - usually separated by a railway track - uptown whiteyville, and downtown darktown.

I've caught trains and buses around New York state and I've watched the people who commute every day to staff the hotels and clean the houses on the island in places they can't afford to ever live, and work three jobs to support their families. Just like in SA during apartheid. I know the history of Chiang Kai Shek, Freeway Ricky, and the SDAF - different dogs, same leg action - and here's a surprise - the same fucking players (see Nugan Hand).

And nearly everyone I've met from the rest of the world, if they've been to the south, say Missouri (properly pronounced Misery) where the bone crushing poverty of the black shanty towns is undeniable - won't buy that "no apartheid" bullshit.

Lot's of nice people of all colours in the South - but you've lived like that for so long the realities have become invisible.

And it's not even just the treatment of black people - it's the Irish mining stock in the North, and the so-called hillbillies.

No Nazism you say? Are you fucking serious - I regularly go to Texas where the the skinheads and the fundamentalist one-eyebrowed no-neck sloping-forehead that would keep the soap out of their eyes if they showered dwell - the same place that produced giants like Bill Hicks, also produced the fucking Bushs and arrested Willie Nelson!

Have you ever been to Florida - did you fail to notice those people living under the freeways? Have you forgotten the Japanese your country put into camps and robbed? When is a trailer park not a prison camp? When it's not a tent city run by fifth generation corrupt jailers and their kin, charging the inmates for wearing pink underwear?

I think you're mistaken is all I'm saying. Maybe you don't see your world the way the rest of the planet does - maybe you don't see much of the world you live in 'cause the rest of the planet looks on in astonishment at Democrat vs. Republican vs. whoever, Tea Party and troothers and asks whether that's the same county that put people on the moon.

Re:south africa (1)

Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583240)

They invented the artificial heart...

Yes they did - and if you know your history you'd know that the first trials all failed. But do you know what that white stuff was that they put in the chest cavity?*1 First class genius's and humanitarians (of the SDAF kind, and that's not a casual link if you know your modern history)

Do you know what the thread they used to sew up the incisions was made of? I'm betting you don't - or else you're dumber than boot full of dead frogs.

but most its population could not receive the simplest of medical care.

That's the part of the population who unwillingly were the hidden guinea pigs. But hey, Hitler liked dogs. Apparently. Another top bloke.

Just for the record - the first non-secret implant that didn't immediately kill the patient was done in Texas. And if you did a little research you might not be so fucking proud of that history. Perhaps you also think Fleming discovered penicillin, Cook discovered Australia, and some European invented printing - but you'd be mistaken (the price you pay for not doing your own research instead of letting others feed you).

*1 Hint: James Scum Hardie

And after it's commercialized... (3, Insightful)

rmdyer (267137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580196)

And later, after it is patented, made into a product, and commercialized, it will cost most hospitals more than $100,000.00. And when you need a scan, your bill will show an $8,000.00 medical imaging cost to the insurance company, while your out of pocket will be $2,000.00. And since it is patented, nobody will be able to raise the capital to compete for many years to come.

Re:And after it's commercialized... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580380)

$100k if it works isn't that big of a deal, most of the cost of tests of that sort isn't the medical equipment, it's having somebody with relevant training to interpret the results. $100k for a device like this would be a bargain, you amortize the cost over a number of years and really the number of times it's used and you're probably not talking about more than a few dollars each time it's used.

Re:And after it's commercialized... (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583664)

and note that there is nothing amazing about this application of existing technologies, so there is no reason for this to cost much more than any of the new CPUs that Intel is selling for example.

But there is a huge difference there - FDA and all of the government might that stands behind the health care / insurance monopolies with government protections, anything from patents to laws on advertising, etc.

Technology is supposed to make medical procedures cheaper, not more expensive, just like the narrator said in the video: instead of taking a slice of skin just use this 'white box' for imaging and viewing what's there. So clearly it's tens or hundreds of times easier and cheaper and would take almost no time to use that 'white box' than to take a slice of skin and send it for analysis.

Yet even so called 'economists' (Keynesians) argue that technology is SUPPOSED to make medicine more expensive and that's why it's getting more expensive (same with education), but it's nonsense.

Technology makes medicine and education less expensive, not more. CPUs are not simple devices, yet you can buy one for near nothing today and you can buy the most expensive ones for a fraction of a cost of any US medical bill. It takes billions of dollars to design/develop/build CPU fabs and it's still cheap at the end - because there is no government standing between the CPU manufacturer and the consumer.

IF government was in business of providing everybody with a 'cheap CPU', then CPUs would be the next debt bubble and they would cost about the same as a house today and only the richest people could afford to actually buy them rather than to loan them from banks.

Re:And after it's commercialized... (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600900)

I remember in my undergraduate days having to make a salt pellet for FT-IR analysis (you mix a compound with KCl and compress it so that you end up with a semi-reflective surface that you reflect an IR beam off of). It is a pretty common analysis. The amusing thing was that we had this shaker you used to mix the salt with your compound to homogenize it. The shaker apparently cost 10x what any comparable piece of lab equipment would cost (it just was a motor and a little metal chamber with a metal bead in it) Apparently the same device is used to make dental amalgums, and hence it is sold at medical rates.

Half the cost of healthcare probably goes to these kinds of markups, often spent on insurance, lawyers, and LOADS of paperwork.

Re:And after it's commercialized... (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#38600826)

And when you need a scan, your bill will show an $8,000.00 medical imaging cost to the insurance company, while your out of pocket will be $2,000.00. And since it is patented, nobody will be able to raise the capital to compete for many years to come.

A few corrections. Your bill will show an $8000 invoice sent to the insurance company. The insurance company will then send an explanation of benefits which states that they will pay $800, you will pay $200, and the biller can forget about the other $7k. If you don't have insurance then you'll just directly get a bill for $8k, and then you'll beg and plead with them on the phone and they'll offer to give you a special discount and only charge you $2k and you'll think you're getting a good deal because the hospital is nice to patients unlike the money-loving insurance company (not realizing they're still charging you double what anybody who knows better would pay).

As far as patents go - I agree and disagree. The patents will stifle competition, but chances are that somebody else will figure out how to make something similar. However, by the time they do all the testing necessary to get the FDA to approve it and insurance companies to pay for it they'll also be charging $100k for the device and the situation will have only improved marginally.

In Vietnam ... (2)

smpoole7 (1467717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580296)

captured prisoners were tied, then placed inside of logs while people beat on the outside with clubs and hammers.

In the United States, we have a higher tech version called an "MRI."

If this technology pans out, I'll mail them a hot dog. If it keeps me from ever having an MRI again, I'll send them THREE hot dogs. Any way they want them. :)

Re:In Vietnam ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38580794)

MR or MRI?

I'll get my coat.

Re:In Vietnam ... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581468)

They have open MRI machines now, much nicer than the closed tubes.

Re:In Vietnam ... (1)

smpoole7 (1467717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581562)

If I ever need one again, I'll (possibly) permit them to drag me into an open MRI. (Possibly.) The problem until recently has been that they were a lot more expensive and insurance didn't want to cover the additional cost.

When I had mine, open MRIs weren't very common.

Re:In Vietnam ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581570)

Do they get clogged often?

No health insurance? Inoperable brain tumor? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580774)

Get yourself one of these personal home scanners, a copy of "Brain Surgery for Dummies", and sanitize the old Black & Decker and the Ginsu knives . . .

Maybe such a cheapo device could enable some office scanning that could eliminate the need for a much more expensive hospital scan?

Although with one of these scanners, you could open up your own alternative pseudo-scientific medical clinic. Ordinary folks never understand what they see in these scans anyway. Just point to something in the picture and say, "See this here? If you drink shark cartilage tea, this will be gone by next week, when you come for your next scan."

fMRI (3, Interesting)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 2 years ago | (#38580900)

I spent two hours in a 3-Tesla MRI scanner this morning getting my occipital lobes scanned while I had to fixate on a dot that would change color back and forth from red to blue, requiring trigger button presses. Besides the expected marching checkerboard rows, they showed behind the dot, every couple seconds: face... face... upside-down face... house... upside-down house... face... house... upside-down face... face... house... face... upside-down house... upside-down house... face... etc. Then, they would show the dot behind words every couple seconds: tennis... cubic... weapon... village... curved... submit... option... mobile... curved... tennis... letter... village... etc. Then, behind four-digit numbers: 8663... 1845... 2853... 9231... 1845... 4408... 7392... 8663... 1424... etc. And finally, behind names of numbers: thirty... eleven... seventy... twelve... eight... fifty-three... seventy-two... ten... That was obviously to pick out some artifact.
These images were being displayed from a PowerMac using some software from a company called PsychoGenix or something (I forget). One funny moment was when it underestimated the Mac screen resolution, and displayed the central fixation dot in the upper left. They apologized for that being in the wrong place and it took them a while to move it back to the center. I didn't think to look more closely at how the actual large flat screen display above the magnet worked, when I had my chances. But the image was focused down an optical path down mirrors to me lying face up in the coil. During the control scans they said "close your eyes and let your mind wander" and I daydreamed about a job at PsychoGenix.
Afterwards I saw the fMRI images corresponding to faces, words, lines, etc. They only had a resolution down to 2 mm, so active regions looked like symmetric clumps of squares on the screen.

Re:fMRI (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#38601148)

I would think an LCD image would be relatively immune to the effects of a 3T magnet (in comparison with a CRT - though you can run those only about 15 feet from such a magnet with some shielding). However, any metal in the device would still create a hazard, and most likely they pipe the optics to be safe and not have to certify their monitors/etc or use exotic non-ferromagnetic metals in them.

There are a lot of neat things you can do with fMRI. While in some ways they're more limited than NMRs there are a lot of neat things you can do because of the added spacial dimension. You can selectively excite stuff in one part of a subject and watch how it moves around (well, within a second or two), which is great for watching blood flow. You can also do a lot of neat stuff with Xenon isotopes (which interact with surfaces of things if you breathe them in right before having a scan done).

Disclaimer, while I've worked on largish NMRs in the past I do not have a great deal of direct MRI experience.

Prior art: Dr. Hodgins on Bones. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581426)

When he was buried alive by the Gravedigger, he used a digital camera to determine the mineral content of the dirt, and sent an SMS to Booth as to their location, which was divined by Zack. Man I really didn't think him and Temperance were going to make it out alive

Re:Prior art: Dr. Hodgins on Bones. (1)

smpoole7 (1467717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581550)

My wife accuses me of being a spoilsport because I'm too analytical. In fact, they replayed that show tonight. I said, "you know they're not going to kill Bones because she's the star of the show. The show is called, 'Bones.' What would they call it? 'Ghost of Bones?' 'Memory of Bones?' 'Bones B Gone Now An' Boof Be Mad LOLZ?' Not likely ..."

I managed to duck in time. :)

I may be old, but I'm quick. (Enough.)

Meanwhile, in Quahog... (1)

Patchw0rk F0g (663145) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583528)

"We're going out now, Stewie. Becky's coming to babysit, and we've locked the LCD projector in the bedroom."

"DAMN YOU WOMAN!"

"might be able to examine skin lesions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38583808)

without having to slice them out of the body first" @1:00

Great innovation. Now the doctors won't have to cut me to pieces every time they examine a bruise.

turning smart phones into tricorders (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38585558)

Some people are making smart phones do basic medical sensing. The cameras an see patients parts and colors; the accelerometers can measure vibrations. Some devices can plug in for chemical analysis.
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