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A Layperson's View of Future Technology and Society

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Medical Imaging Technology

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3d  scan of human head with slice removed

Medical imaging refers to the techniques and processes used to create images of the human body (or parts thereof) for clinical purposes (medical procedures seeking to reveal, diagnose or examine disease) or medical science (including the study of normal anatomy and physiology).


Image courtesy of Super Dave Chen

Computed Tomography

Computed tomography device

Computed tomography (CT Scan) is a medical imaging method employing digital geometry processing to generate a three-dimensional image of the inside of an object from a large series of two-dimensional X-ray images.

Computed tomography

MIT creates 3-D images of living cell

Aquilion ONE Computed Tomography (CT) System

Image from wikipedia

PET Scans

Positron Emission Tomography

PET (Positron Emission Tomography), is an imaging procedure that is both a medical and a research tool. It is used in imaging of tumors and for clinical study of the brain. PET combined with CT (Computer Tomography), provide both anatomic and metabolic information (i.e., what the structure is and what it is doing).

Before I looked into PET scans, I thought that positrons were purely science fiction. Turns out that positrons are for real and were discovered way back in 1932. I really should get out more.

PET scan basics

What is a Positron?

Animation by Jens Langner

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Image courtesy of National Library of Medicine

As the name implies, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnetic field to visualize the structure and function of the body. Functional MRI or fMRI is a type of specialized MRI scan that measures the neural activity in the brain or spinal cord.

The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory web site offers the best (for me, that means short and easy), introduction to MRI in their article - MRI: A Guided Tour

How MRI Works


The Basics of MRI

What Is Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)?

What Is Cardiac MRI?

The MRI Game

What to Expect During Your MRI Exam

MRI links

Combining MRI and PET

The Future Role of functional MRI

Functional MRI

Medical Imaging Articles, Blogs and Web Sites

All Links open in a new window. Bold = Recommended. Links do not imply endorsement.

Future Medical Imaging Technology Articles
Title Source Date
Viewing cancer on the move: New device yields close-up look at metastasis Medical Xpress 11/14
New 'T-ray' tech converts light to sound for medical imaging University of Michigan 05/14
Imaging technology could unlock mysteries of a childhood disease Phys.Org 01/14
the best Neuroscience images of 2013 The Brain Bank 12/12
Laboratories Seek New Ways to Take a Look Inside NY Times 10/12
Zooming in on bacterial weapons in 3D KurzweilAi.net 05/12
Uncovering the spread of deadly cancer KurzweilAI.net 08/11
Understanding the Mind by Mapping the Brain NSF video 08/11
Historic first images of rod photoreceptors in the living human eye KurzweilAi.net 06/11
Scientists Image Brain at Point When Vocal Learning Begins Science Daily 02/11
DigiMorph: Bringing Fossils to Life NSF 01/11
A Time-Lapse Movie Shot Inside the Brain Technology Review 01/11
New imaging technique accurately finds cancer cells, fast University of Illinois 11/10
Ultrasound Gets More Portable Technology Review 11/10
X-ray nanotomography microscope reveals ultrastructure of cells KurzweilAI.net 11/10
New imaging method reveals stunning details of brain connections Stanford 11/10
Imaging embryos eliminates octomoms Nature 10/10
Vibrational spectroscopy technique may someday be used to diagnose a variety of diseases ACS 09/10
Computers that read minds are being developed by Intel Telegraph 09/10
Reading Baby Brains Technology Review 05/10
Smart Phone Portable Ultrasound Washington University in St. Louis 04/09
Molecular movies Argonne 04/08
Diffusion Tensor Imaging Forbes 08/09


Future Medical Imaging Technology Web Sites and Blogs
Title Description
AnatOnMe Microsoft Research
Imaging the Future NobelPrize.org
Magnetoencephalography (MEG) Science Daily
Radiology Radiologyinfo.org
The Cell Cell image library
The Visible Human Project National Institute of Health
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