Ultrasound News, Website updates and more

New Ultrasound Detects Heart Problems in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

echocardiogramRecent studies have shown that a new type of ultrasound called “speckle-tracking echocardiography” can detect potentially fatal heart abnormalities in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

During a meeting in Berlin the researchers from the Mayo Clinic, USA proposed that their technique of speckle-tracking echocardiography shows itself to be a promising method of screening rheumatoid arthritis patients for cardiovascular disease. Allegedly the current tools used to screen patients underestimate the risk they face and so these new more accurate methods could provide real measurable benefits for patient care.

Studies in this area can be particularly tricky to research, Dr Gabriel when talking about their investigation said

“”The challenge that we’ve had in our studies, and other people have had as well, is identifying patients with rheumatoid arthritis early enough so that we can intervene, before the symptoms become clinically apparent.”

Here at modern ultrasound technician we love nothing more than a new research paper or procedure to get our teeth stuck into. While this technique is still in its infancy stages, the research does show promise in the future for a more accurate and effective method of risk assessment for patients in the future, and in our eyes this is one step on the right path for better patient care in the future.

Source: Medical News Today

One-Way Acoustic Diode Paves Way to Higher Quality Ultrasound Imaging

One Way Acoustic Diode

Diagram demonstrating the input/output of the diode.

Over the years ultrasound has come on leaps and bounds in terms of quality of pictures, and technological advancements such as 3D and 4D ultrasound. While ultrasound can provide massive advantages due to it using harmless sound waves instead of the more radioactive materials, it also has weaknesses due to the same reasons.

As anyone who has ever shouted in a large room knows, echoes can produce anomalous readings and interference. While ultrasound relies on these ultrasonic echoes to produce a sonogram the incoming echoes can produce interference with the outgoing sound waves and therefor lower image brightness and resolution. If a method could be found to keep these incoming and outgoing sounds separate, it would help greatly improve the quality of an ultrasound picture.

Scientist Jian-chun Cheng of China’s Nanjing University described at the Acoustics 2012 meeting in Hong Kong the advancements in this area his team have been making. They have created what they call a one way acoustic diode that works similarly to an electric diode. An electric diode works by providing zero resistance to the electric current in one direction, with very high resistance in the other direction, this produces a unidirectional electrical flow and helps protect against sudden damaging reverses in flow.

While an ultrasound diode cannot work off a similar principle, sound has the same resistance traveling both too and from a source, the effect is the same. The acoustic diode works by increasing the frequency of sound entering the diode in a certain direction, then putting a material in the way that only allows sound through of a high enough frequency. This allows the higher frequency sound to pass through, while any returning sound which has lowered in frequency cannot pass through the filter material.

As Liang explains “if the sound comes from the side of the nonlinear material, it will hit that material first, creating doubled frequency sound that passes through the filter, while any sound coming from the other side at the original frequency is blocked before it reaches the doubling layer.”

This truly is an innovative approach to the problem, while many people can get stuck in the details of a problem, it is the simple outside of the box developments like this that are providing real noticeable change in the ultrasound industry and providing the technological advancement our health care system, and patients deserve.

Source: Science Daily

Pregnant Panda Undergoes Ultrasound Scan

PandaNo news roundup would be complete without a true “aw” story and we would not let our readers down in such a way. More than 10 pandas are currently undergoing ultrasound at the Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Centre in southwest China.

Pandas are notoriously difficult to breed; which, given their endangered species status is of high priority. Female pandas are only fertile for 2-3 days a year, so it was with much joy the Centre reported the 10 successful mating pairs. Pandas are generally pregnant 85-100 days before giving birth and the ultrasound is still being used to check the health of the mothers to be. Unfortunately the ultrasound did find complications with one mother, who is now undergoing further medical treatment.

With only around 1600 giant pandas remaining in the wild, our best wishes go out to the proud panda mums in china. If you’d like to find out more about human development and how we view the different stages through ultrasound, please read our recent article on ultrasound during pregnancy

Source:BBC News

Website Updates

Also as of today, the keener eyed readers (and probably everybody else) will have noticed we have totally altered our website design. The other design was always intended to be a placeholder until we could really get to grips with a makeover we liked.

Going forward we will feature many more videos in our articles alongside more relevant images where this is suitable. We have also gone back over some of our older pages and updated them with videos we thought allowed either a more detailed viewpoint, or an easier way to gain a topic overview.

We always want to know what our readers think, and are very interested in any areas you believe we can improve on and would love to listen to any improvements or additions you’d like to see here. If you have any tips on current news stories or topics/questions you’d like us to cover, leave a comment below or fill in our contact page at the top.

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