Medical imaging is a form of technology that has revolutionized the medical field in the past century. With these new innovations, doctors were able to elevate the standard of practice and the experience of the patient. Now, areas of pain or trouble can be non-invasively examined and treatment can begin without the patient even needing to go under. But when did the innovation of medical imaging begin?
Read below to take a trip down memory lane and find out how the medical field and the technology industry have been working together to build a better, healthier world.
Röntgen performs X-Ray in 1895
Professor Wilhelm Röntgen accidentally discovers the ability to look through the skin and see the bones of the body while performing experiments on another project. While working with a cathode ray generator, he noticed an image that was left when the cathode rays came into contact with the vacuum tube. He performed the first X-ray on his wife’s hand and even gave the technology the name we use today, calling this discovery “X” rays because they were unsure what exactly they were. This invention was eventually standardized by William Coolidge and his X-ray known as the “Coolidge tube” is what all modern X-ray machines are based from. The first X-rays required at least 11 minutes of exposure to produce a quality image. Now X-rays take only a few seconds and they use about 2% of the radiation amount seen in the early 20th century machines.
Scientists Use Ultrasounds in the 1960s
The basics of sonar had been discovered and utilized during World War II as a form of maritime warfare. In the early 1960s, scientists discovered that sending sound waves into the body would bounce off the internal structures and then returned to the ultrasound machine to be reformatted into images for doctors to see. This allowed doctors to non-invasively search for tumors and other growths.
Damadian Discovers MRI in 1970
Dr. Raymond Damadian discovers that different animal tissues emit different signals, as well as that cancerous tissues, take much longer to return the signal sent through them. This is the basis for magnetic resonance imaging. In 1977, Dr. Damadian created the first full-body MRI machine which he named the “Indomitable.”
Hounsfield Invents CT Scans in 1972
The 1970s showed the first instance of computer technology mixing into the medical field with Sir Godfrey Hounsfield’s invention of the CT machine. He theorizes that you could see into an object if you took X-rays from different angles of the object through a machine that would appear as “slices” which could then be put together to form an image. With his idea, he formed the first “axial tomography” machine which we now know as the CT machine. In 1979, he received the Nobel Prize in Medicine and was later knighted by the British Royal Family.
Since then, all of these machines have entered into the digital age and are now updated with the latest technology available. This means that there is less potential risk for patients as well as a greater ability to diagnose and treat.
The thing about technology is that just because a piece of technology is used primarily in one area of study doesn’t mean that it isn’t just as effective in another. Medical imaging is one of those fields. MRIs are one method of medical imaging that is used in other industries and other fields of medicine. You may be wondering, what do MRIs show us? Let’s explore how this valuable technology is bringing answers and ideas to all fields of people.
MRIs don’t only reveal what is happening currently to a body, they can give us information about what was happening to a body long after the person has passed away. Now, when explorers and archaeologists find skeletons or fossils, they will perform MRIs on the remains to determine things like age, height, race, cause of death and many other facts. Most recently, a 2,500 skeleton believed to be the remains of an ancient Pazyryk princess was found to have died from breast cancer. Incredible, isn’t it? Usually, only bones remain but they can still be used to gather tons of information. MRIs do not use radiation so scientists don’t have to worry about damaging fragile pieces or destroying DNA.
When a professional athlete has an injury, the first thing that is done is to take him or her for an MRI. MRIs are the best for professional athletes because their injuries are typically musculoskeletal like hairline fractures, ACL tears, sprains and concussions. MRIs are the best equipment to examine these kinds of injuries because they can look through several layers of bone, muscles and joints and see right to the area that is damaged. By being sure of the injury, coaches and athletes can plan accordingly.
What do MRIs show us besides how history and injury? Medical conditions of course. MRIs are primarily used for diagnosis and determining disease conditions. MRIs use the power of magnet and radio waves to take images of the organs and tissues. MRIs are particularly adept at examining the vascular system, helping to aid the discovery of heart conditions like blocked arteries, holes and high blood pressure. MRIs are also used for determining the presence of cancer. While biopsy are what confirms that diagnosis, if a physician has a suspension that cells might be cancerous, they will likely schedule an MRI appointment.
MRIs are also primarily used in different kinds of research. For example, thanks to MRI technology, doctors are getting closer to finding the gene variant that results in Alzheimer’s. One recent study has used MRIs to reveal that there are definitive biomarkers that can predict and validate a condition known as chronic fatigue syndrome. These and other health issues are getting more illumination thanks to the information gleaned from MRI tests.
MRIs provide so much valuable information without becoming invasive or causing pain making them the preferred choice for many kinds of institutions. To find out more information about MRIs or what they are used for, visit our MRI Service Page or call Doctors Imaging in Metairie at 504-833-8111.