4 exciting things that happened in computed tomography

It’s Friday, which means another week came and another week’s gone. If you’re a working adult, most weeks generally feel the same. There are some weeks, though, that are just a little bit special, that stand out more than the others for some particular reason. This week was one of those weeks for everyone in CT.

If you spent just 20 minutes on Twitter this week, you’ll know that some seriously cool stuff is happening in our industry. The radiology world feels a little like fire and ice most of the time; we can go months or even years with no significant innovations, or we can have a short period of time where exciting new changes are popping up like wildfires. We’ll give you one good guess which one of those this past week falls under.

That being said, when there’s so much new stuff happening at once it can be difficult to even stay in the loop. That’s why we’re here to help keep you informed! Here are four big discoveries in the computed tomography world that you’ll want to be aware of:

1. We may be able to use radiologist’s eye patterns while interpreting scans as a way to tell their level of expertise and experience.

We’re not quite sure how this will pan out long-term, but it’s pretty cool. Recent research has determined that radiologist’s eyes (more specifically, their eye movement patterns while interpreting scans) are a window into the soul of their expertise and level of experience. This might not seem like the most valuable discovery on the surface, but researchers are excited about the possible implications this could have on the way that residents are trained in the future.

2. Studies show that today’s radiologists no longer face any radiation-related mortality risk.

This is probably the most exciting piece of radiology news we got this week, and we can’t help but share it! After over 100 years of practiced radiology, researchers have finally determined that radiologists who started practicing after 1940 face no increased risk of radiation-related mortality. There’s been a huge sigh of relief from the whole industry, whose physicians have spent years unsure of just how much job-related radiation exposure would factor into their lives.  

3. Non coronary measures may improve the prognostic value of cardiac computed tomography.

The gist of this one? Left atrial axial area index, epicardial fat volume, and thoracic aortic calcification from non-contrast enhanced cardiac computed tomography assessments both improved the prediction of cardiovascular events over coronary artery calcium scores and helped establish risk factors. This could be big news for the cardiac world going forward!

4. Doctors are looking into using chlorophyll in medical imaging procedures.

That’s right, a study from Advanced Materials argues that the green pigment in chlorophyll could help physicians examine the human digestive track with certain imaging procedures. The concept is pretty simple: patients would drink a special mixture of green nanoparticles called phephytin (it’s essentially chlorophyll with the magnesium removed).

The idea is that the pheophytin should react similarly to other kinds of light during an imaging procedure as it does with the sunlight during photosynthesis, lighting up the digestive track and making it easier for radiologists to see the potential problems more clearly.

It’s always so exciting to see the new changes that are coming to our industry, to see the fruits of researchers' labors finally paying off. Some of these are still in the very beginning stages, and it will be interesting to see how they develop as time goes on. They might not pan out, or they might be one of the biggest discoveries for our industry this year…we’ll just have to wait and find out!