science vintage tech medicine medical_imaging pet_scan positron_emission_tomography radioisotope nuclear_medicine

A PET Prototype
This device from the 1960s is an early prototype of a positron emission tomography (PET) scanner. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Lab built this circular version of the PET scanner to image small brain tumors and nicknamed it the Head-Shrinker.
PET scans work after radioisotope tracers are introduced into the patient. The imaging equipment picks up gamma rays emitted as a result of the isotope’s decay. The system allows for functional imaging of processes throughout the body. The device is now used for research and to diagnose certain cancers, brain diseases and heart problems.[[MORE]]

A PET Prototype

This device from the 1960s is an early prototype of a positron emission tomography (PET) scanner. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Lab built this circular version of the PET scanner to image small brain tumors and nicknamed it the Head-Shrinker.

PET scans work after radioisotope tracers are introduced into the patient. The imaging equipment picks up gamma rays emitted as a result of the isotope’s decay. The system allows for functional imaging of processes throughout the body. The device is now used for research and to diagnose certain cancers, brain diseases and heart problems.

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Are Focused Sound Waves Medicine’s Next Big Thing?

by Michael Keller

The pictures on the left above show a patient with a benign bone tumor called an osteoid osteoma. The images on the right show the patient after doctors treated the tumor with focused ultrasound, a therapy that delivers high frequency sound waves inside the body without surgery.

Advocates for the technology say it is proving to be a useful and cost-effective treatment for a number of afflictions, from various cancers to neurological diseases.

“Focused ultrasound is increasingly being considered a game-changing technology,” said Kim Butts Pauly, a Stanford University professor of radiology. 

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Txch This Week: Flying Saucers from Earth and Medical Innovations

by Norman Rozenberg

This week on Txchnologist, we looked at innovations improving the medical field and the environment around us. First, MIT researchers have unlocked the mystery of what makes oyster shells so strong. Their discovery could make lightweight, translucent and extremely strong armor.

Medical devices continue to advance in leaps and bounds. The newest discovery can monitor the heart and perform other hospital-quality diagnostic functions with tiny wearable sensors. This marks a new step in miniature, flexible and wearable medical technology. Other diagnostic methods are getting an upgrade thanks to developments made with Google Glass. A new app developed for the hardware can scan samples and digitally send them out for analysis. This development by UCLA researchers reduces the need for nearby labs and might improve medical treatment in areas without large medical facilities.

Some optimistic news about U.S. air quality came out recently. Research shows that Americans are breathing air with fine fewer particulates. The new study shows that this measure of air quality has significantly improved over the last decade thanks to effective state emission control plans.

Buildings regularly suffer lightning strikes, offering a brilliant - and destructive - light show during storms. Scientists say they have devised a way to save buildings from Zeus’ wrath using laser beams. The high-intensity beams can guide lightning away from buildings.

And now we’re bringing you the news and trends we’ve been following this week in the world of science, technology and innovation.

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Could Lasers Divert Lightning From Buildings?

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by Michael Keller

The standard advice authorities offer when lightning starts crackling across the sky is for people to take shelter inside buildings. Substantial structures offer protection through lightning rods affixed to the roof, electrical wiring and plumbing that can direct the electricity away from occupants and into the ground.

But what is there to protect the buildings themselves from more than 5 billion Joules of energy in a typical lightning strike, which is enough juice to toast 100,000 bread slices? The problem is no small one—the Empire State Building (above) in New York City gets hit by lightning an average of 25 times a year. And Underwriters Laboratories reports that lightning accounts for more than $1 billion in building damage in the U.S. every year. 

Many buildings install lightning protection systems to direct lightning’s energy into the ground, which the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety says are highly effective at preventing fires and destructive electrical surges after a strike.

Now researchers say there might be a next-generation protective system that prevents lightning from hitting a building at all. Their secret weapon? High-intensity lasers.

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