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Jonathan Batchelor

Healthcare legislation expected to reach the Senate floor this weekend is projected to cost $848 billion and reduce the federal budget deficit by $130 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

In a reversal of its 2002 recommendations, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued new guidelines against routine screening mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years, against teaching women breast self-examination and advocating biennial screening mammography only for women aged 50 to 74 years.

The pace of research in functional imaging moves at a fast clip, with breakthroughs at the laboratory bench promising new treatments in the clinical setting. Getting from point A to point B, however, is rarely a seamless transition.

Take the biomarker 11C-choline, for example. The compound has successfully been applied for PET imaging of prostate cancer, bladder cancer and other solid malignancies. Although the radiotracer has shown strength for cancer detection, its observed sensitivity has shown great variance.

The fusion of 11C-choline PET data with high-resolution anatomic imaging (such as future hybrid PET/MRI systems) may offer the potential to guide targeted prostate biopsies and to noninvasively select high-risk prostate cancer patients for definitive treatments such as surgery or radiotherapy, according to research published in the October issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

A single breath hold of 20 seconds can enable more precise measurements of maximum standardized uptake value, especially in the lower lung field and for small tumors--which may be affected by respiratory motion--according to research published in this months Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Medical imaging IT developer UltraRAD has signed Minneapolis-based NXC Imaging as a reseller of its products.

Medical image management application developer UltraRAD has completed an installation of the firm's UltraWEB, with orthopedic software, at Health Care Midwest of Kalamazoo, Mich.

An ongoing series of unfortunate events broke down existing radiation dose safety protocols in the CT perfusion unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Although the investigation into the cause of the cascade of failure is ongoing, some data has emerged.

Over an 18-month period, 206 CT brain perfusion patients at the facility received radiation doses that were approximately eight times higher than the expected level. Hospital officials said there was a misunderstanding about an embedded default setting applied by the CT system that resulted in a higher than expected amount of radiation.

Could IT have alerted personnel to the problem sooner? Without a thorough analysis of the entire system at the facility, the answer is a firm maybe. However, PACS professionals may want to seriously consider implementing the capabilities of the DICOM Dose Structured Report (SR) object in their practice to help mitigate events such as these.

The summer of 2009 has, at long last, come to a close. However, the fiery rhetoric of partisan interests in the on-going debate over healthcare reform shows no sign of cooling down. The current drama over the provision of healthcare is not a new or original topic in the political discourse of the United States.

The capabilities of advanced visualization imaging technology seemingly grow on a monthly basis. Not only can these applications bring new service lines onboard a practice, they also can help to lower patient radiation dose.

A team from the departments of radiology and vascular surgery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have used post-acquisition CT data processing to enable the use of nonenhanced CT for the detection of endoleak in the repair of endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysms.