RSNA's 89th annual meeting winds down with the naming of its new president

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The gavel comes down on Friday to signal the close of the 89th edition of the Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

 On Thursday, the Society installed Brain C. Lentle, M.D., as its new president. He succeeds Peggy J. Fritzsche, M.D. She has been a member of the RSNA Board of Directors since 1995 and a society member since 1978.

 Lentle is a professor emeritus and former head of the department of radiology at the University of British Columbia. He recently retired as chairman of the department of radiology at Vancouver General Hospital and is currently a consultant radiologist responsible for densitometry service at the Women's and Children's Health Centre of British Columbia.

 Lentle has been a member of RSNA since 1993, serving as a member of the Ethics Committee and the FutuRad Committee. In 1998, he was elected to the RSNA Board of Directors as the Liaison for Education. In 2002, he served as the chairman of the Board and was the primary advocate for the Society's strategic plan. Lentle also developed the theme -- Radiology's Global Forum -- for next year's annual meeting.

 The impact of health imaging on patient care was evident in poster presentations at RSNA 2003. A new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology reduces brain-imaging time from 20 minutes to three minutes, while maintaining accuracy and decreasing patient discomfort.

 Study results come from co-author, Jonathan H. Gillard, M.D., a neuroradiologist at Addenbrooke's Hospital, University of Cambridge in England. "Pictures taken in a shorter period of time are less susceptible to degradation from the patient moving during the scan," said Gillard.

 Computed tomography (CT) is the usual method for diagnosing stroke, because it only takes a few minutes, compared to 20 minutes with conventional MRI. However, unlike MRI, CT does not identify the parts of the brain that are at risk of damage.

 Researchers at Addenbrooke studied 24 patients with clinical diagnosis of probable acute middle cerebral artery stroke to compare images obtained with conventional MRI and with the three-minute protocol using new multi-channel, phased-array brain coils. Overall, the two protocols were comparable in image quality and diagnostic results. However, two of the three-minute protocol images were of better quality than the conventional images, because the faster imaging eliminated complications from patient movement. The three-minute protocol also correctly identified blockage for treatment with clot-busting drugs.

 CT screening was found to be an effective diagnostic tool for detecting early-stage lung cancer in smokers and for reducing mortality rates, according to two ongoing studies from the 10-year Early Lung Cancer Action Project (ELCAP) in New York. The study also inadvertently discovered that women are twice as likely to develop lung cancer from smoking than men.

 Claudia I. Henschke, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator of the studies and professor of radiology and division chief of chest imaging at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center, said that "more than 80 percent of the diagnosed lung cancers we found in initial and annual repeat CT screenings were Stage I -- the most curable form of lung cancer."

 NY-ELCAP was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of annual CT screening in high-risk subjects at 12 medical institutions throughout the state of New York. Participants -- 6,318 men and women, age 60 or older, who had no history of cancer and smoked at least one pack of cigarettes a day for 10 years -- underwent low-dose CT of the lungs. As of last month, annual CT screenings were performed on 4,658 people based on a positive finding in an earlier screening. More than 80 percent of the lung cancers detected were Stage I.

 Researchers at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine elicited the help of MR spectroscopy to develop a method to measure the severity of a patient's MS and gauge how well the drugs used to treat the disease are working.

 The method -- whole brain N-acetylaspartate (WBNAA) -- is performed at the same time the patient undergoes clinical MR imaging. The radiologist adds MR spectroscopy, which provides chemical information at the cellular level.

 "It adds 10 minutes to the clinical MR imaging," said Oded Gonen, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a professor of radiology at NYU School of Medicine.

 Gonen's team studied 42 patients (30 women, 12 men, median age 38 years) with 0 to 12 years of relapsing-remitting MS.

 The researchers found that both the rate of brain atrophy, which is a currently accepted radiological marker of disease progression, and NAA exhibited significant decline with disease duration, at a rate of 0.5 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, per year.
Health Imaging News will continue to provide news from RSNA 2003 throughout this month and Health Imaging & IT magazine will provide extensive RSNA Wrap-Up coverage in our January issue.