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Advanced stroke imaging comes under close scrutiny

Advanced stroke imaging comes under close scrutiny

It's fair to say that the medical profession hasn't yet come to grips fully with stroke. Each year, around 15 million people suffer a stroke, five million patients die from the condition, and another five million are left permanently disabled, according to the World Health Organization.

Stroke is the second leading cause of death above the age of 60 and the fifth leading cause of death in people aged between 15 and 59. In China alone, 1.3 million people have a stroke each year, and 75% live with varying degrees of disability as a result of stroke. Over the next two decades, stroke mortality in Latin America, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa looks set to triple.

The good news, however, is that imaging is making swift progress in this area, and a new era of clinical care appears to be approaching. The availability of more sophisticated techniques is helping to expand the “window of opportunity” needed to treat acute stroke patients, and both CT and MRI are playing increasingly important roles in the screening, diagnosis, and management of acute stroke.

Recent developments in multislice CT angiography and perfusion imaging are having a particularly significant impact, as the cover story in this issue shows. Advanced neuroimaging of ischemic brain tissue has its weaknesses, including a lack of standardization of perfusion parameters and the failure to validate some models in large trials, but researchers are overcoming the main challenges and prospects for the future are becoming brighter.

I have two additional pieces of news to share with readers of DI Europe.

In late September, Dr. Anders Persson, director of the center for medical imaging science and visualization at Linköping University Hospital in Sweden, received the 2008 Lennart Nilsson Award for scientific photography for his innovative techniques for capturing 3D images inside the human body. These new methods are proving particularly useful for postmortem imaging, and they provide valuable information for forensic investigations. He wrote about his work in the cover story of DI Europe's February/March 2007 edition, and his images were also featured in last month's lead news story about imaging of child abuse. We warmly congratulate Dr. Persson for this award and for his pioneering work.

Second, our redesigned website (DiagnosticImaging.com) is now up and running. We think you will find it more accessible and readable. The initial feedback from visitors has certainly been very positive. If you have any thoughts, ideas, or observations to share, please send me an e-mail message at philipward1@btconnect.com

Finally, I would like to wish you and your families all the very best for the New Year. We look forward to entertaining and informing you with further issues during 2009.


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