Anniversary provides occasion to reflect on two decades of constant change

April 15, 2005

One of the most interesting press releases I received in March came from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in the U.K. This group will celebrate its 500th anniversary on 1 July 2005, and it is staging a Quincentenary Week of conferences, exhibitions, and festivities for members and the public.

One of the most interesting press releases I received in March came from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in the U.K. This group will celebrate its 500th anniversary on 1 July 2005, and it is staging a Quincentenary Week of conferences, exhibitions, and festivities for members and the public.

Other medical organizations have a similarly long and rich history. By comparison, the 20th anniversary of this magazine hardly seems like a significant and groundbreaking event. Should the world of medicine really care about such a landmark? The brutally honest answer is probably no, but it does provide a wonderful chance to take stock of the past two decades and reflect on the progress made in the vibrant field of diagnostic imaging. That is what we aim to do in this issue.

The most concise and lucid summary of how imaging has changed since the 1980s may have come from Dr. James Thrall, radiologist-in-chief at Massachusetts General Hospital. He wrote the following in the November 2004 edition of Diagnostic Imaging (U.S.):

"We (radiologists) are still engaged in exposing biological tissues to different sources of energy and recording the results of the interactions. On the other hand, practically every aspect of how we do this has changed dramatically. We have new energy sources. Our measuring stick that stopped at millimeters extends to molecular dimensions. Our coordinate system has expanded from two dimensions to three dimensions and more. Analog has given way to digital. But the most dramatic change has been the shift of radiology from an ancillary service to a position astride the critical path of care for most acute diseases and conditions."

The front cover of our first edition in April 1985 contained this strapline, or banner: "The news magazine of radiology, nuclear medicine and ultrasound." The issue had a black surround and virtually no color on the editorial pages. It bore the title DI International, even though it was circulated almost exclusively within Europe. Many changes in content and design have been made since then, but the prime focus is still on news, as well as overview articles and opinion columns on topics of broad interest. Our raison d'etre remains the same: to inform you about what's new.

The first edition included reports on how computed radiography might transform plain-film examinations, MRI's appeal in pediatric disorders due to the absence of radiation, innovations in ultrasound transducers, and the benefits of surface-coil technology in MRI. This set the tone for the future, as we attempted to provide reliable and up-to-date information on issues of long-term importance.

Like healthcare delivery, publishing is a team effort. Many people have contributed to the success of DI Europe, notably our authors and Editorial Advisory Board. I would like to express my thanks to all of them. Staff members have also played played a crucial part, and some of the pioneers tell their stories in this issue (see page 39).