#SeeInsideIt: the Science behind the Scans

#SeeInsideIt: the Science behind the Scans

November 06, 2014 at 02:11pm

Resembling more Peter Parker than Bruce Wayne, radiology is an often unheralded hero in the realm of modern medicine. Saving lives, but seldom in the spotlight.

On November 8 – the day Wilhelm Röntgen discovered X-rays in 1895 – we have an opportunity to change this by celebrating the International Day of Radiology (IDoR), which recognizes the immense value of radiology to patient care and the healthcare continuum.

#SeeInsideIt is our way of bringing to life the role of radiology in healthcare today. Several GE Healthcare laboratories around the world have helped create stunning images of everyday objects using some of the most sophisticated scanners available. Over 24 hours, we will unveil more than 50 images of a range of objects scanned under X-ray, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MRI) from laboratories in Brazil, China, Japan, Hungary, Korea, and the United States. Each picture will be accompanied by information about the science and technology behind it, including the chemistry and physics of X-rays, CT and MR, in an effort to raise public awareness of what goes on behind the scenes when they, or a loved one, need a clinical scan.

For instance, in Hwaseong City, South Korea, imaging experts used digital mammography to scan a crab, a beehive, ginseng root and other unusual objects. The images are at once beautiful and representative of the incredibly high image quality being routinely achieved when screening patients for breast cancer.

In Contagem, Brazil, at the first GE Healthcare factory in South America, technicians produced CT and X-ray scans of everything from rubber ducks and retro gaming consoles to an electric guitar. The images were taken using scanners made in Brazil, for the Brazilian healthcare system. This local approach to production and distribution has driven costs down, and standards up, for patients all over the country.

MR, CT and X-ray scanners are designed specifically to take images of the human body, which is why some non-human objects gave the technicians some interesting challenges when trying to scan them. For instance, MR imaging relies on the magnetic fields of water molecules in your body. So when a plastic bird soft toy was put through the scanner, it unsurprisingly yielded no image. But by soaking the toy in water before scanning it, an onscreen MRI of a fully rotatable, three-dimensional virtual toy bird could be created.

Discover #SeeInsideIt

Now you can choose your favorite image and share it with the world to celebrate the International Day of Radiology. Visit the image gallery and follow #SeeInsideIt on social media to discover the latest images and the science behind them that allows radiologists to look into the body from all angles.

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