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Extra Info On Lung Disease Pulled From X-rays

October 24, 2012
Written by: , Filed in: Chest Radiology, Diagnostic Imaging
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A new technique teases out additional information from chest X-rays to help diagnose lung disease at an earlier stage.

Scientists in Munich, Germany, analyzed the radiation scattered by lung tissue during the course of conventional X-ray imaging. The additional data allowed the creation of detailed images of the lungs of diseased mice, showing not only the presence of disease but also how far it has progressed.

Maximilian Reiser, MD, head of the Institute for Clinical Radiology at Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, said:

We hope that one day this technology will improve COPD diagnosis and therapy while avoiding the higher radiation exposure associated with high-resolution CT.

Dr. Reiser is an author of a study detailing the new research that was published online last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He was quoted in a news release from Technical University Munich, where physicists contributed to the development of the technique.

The addition of radiation-scattering information to enhance conventional X-ray images won’t reach clinical use for a while. To generate their X-rays, the researchers used the Compact Light Source, a compact synchrotron from Lyncean Technologies Inc. of Palo Alto, California, that’s not practical for the clinic at this point. The researchers are working on ways to make the technique work using conventional X-ray machines. Another set of researchers is trying to develop new laser-driven X-ray sources.

Still, the technique promises to make the early stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease visible via X-rays, which could lead to treatments that might keep the disease from progressing.

“Especially in the early stages of the disease, identification, precise quantification, and localization of emphysema through the new technology would be very helpful,” said Dr. Reiser.

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