Perseverance Pays

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 - Lisa Fratt - Portrait
Lisa Fratt, Editor

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer," quipped Albert Einstein. I won't debate Einstein's intelligence, but his point about perseverance is particularly astute.

Several stories in this month's Health Imaging & IT illustrate the value of perseverance. This spring, William Thies, PhD, chief medical and scientific officer of the Alzheimer's Association, emphasized the need for biomarker research when the Alzheimer's Association and the National Institute on Aging published new criteria for the diagnosis of the disease. It's the first guidance in 27 years. "If we can definitively determine the risk of developing Alzheimer's dementia in people who have biomarker evidence of brain changes but are not showing outward symptoms, we will open an important window of opportunity to intervene with disease-modifying therapies, once they are developed," Thies said.  

With more than 80 potential therapies in the development pipeline, a robust pre-symptomatic identification platform could be critical.

In this month's cover story, Manjula Puthenedam, PhD, and Mary C. Tierney, MS, detail progress toward defining neuroimaging biomarkers. It is painstakingly slow work, particularly for the 5.3 million Americans and their families living with Alzheimer's disease, but research is pressing ahead on all fronts.

Sometimes, progress is accelerated with dramatic leaps forward.

Last fall, the National Lung Screening Trial was terminated early, after researchers determined that patients undergoing annual CT exams experienced a 20 percent drop in mortality compared with a cohort undergoing chest radiography. This month, Health Imaging & IT outlines the burgeoning role of advanced visualization as the U.S. ponders a new screening model.

While both Alzheimer's disease research and lung cancer screening represent decades-long endeavors, other projects do reach fruition more expeditiously. Think iPad. Six months ago, it was extremely difficult to find a physician leveraging the tablet for any imaging-related task.

Now, image-intense 'ologists are discovering a plethora of uses, including patient education, videoconferencing and much more. And the iPad's appeal is spreading. A recent Manhattan Research survey indicates that 28 percent of physicians plan to purchase an iPad in the next six months, doubling the number of current physician iPad users.

The providers profiled in our iPad feature represent hundreds of others that are integrating imaging & IT to improve patient care, control costs and boost ROI.

Now, it's your turn to tell your story. Health Imaging & IT is sponsoring its annual Top Connected Healthcare Facilities contest and seeking to highlight 25 organizations in our August issue. Please visit topconnected.healthimaging.com for a nomination form. We look forward to hearing from you!