Scientists take first 3D, colour X-ray of a human
PARIS: New Zealand scientists have performed the first-ever 3-D, colour X-ray on a human, using a technique that promises to improve the field of medical diagnostics, said Europe’s CERN physics lab which contributed imaging technology.
The MARS spectral X-ray scanner will revolutionise medical imaging globally — especially the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer and heart disease — because it provides far greater detail of the body’s chemical components.
The new device, based on the traditional black-and-white X-ray, incorporates particle-tracking technology developed for CERN’S Large Hadron Collider, which in 2012 discovered the elusive Higgs Boson particle. “This colour X-ray imaging technique could produce clearer and more accurate pictures and help doctors give their patients more accurate diagnoses,” said a CERN statement. The CERN technology, dubbed Medipix, works like a camera detecting and counting individual sub-atomic particles as they collide with pixels while its shutter is open.
This allows for high-resolution, high-contrast pictures.
Father and son Professors Phil and Anthony Butler invented the MARS spectral X-ray scanner.
The machine’s “small pixels and accurate energy resolution meant that this new imaging tool is able to get images that no other imaging tool can achieve,” said developer Phil Butler.
“X-ray spectral information allows health professionals to measure the different components of body parts such as fat, water, calcium, and disease markers.
“Traditional black-and-white X-rays only allow measurement of the density and shape of an object,” Anthony Butler says.
The Butlers adapted technology used by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in the hunt for the ‘God particle’ into a medical scanner
Pictured is Prof Phil Butler’s wrist (including his watch).