Medical imaging has undergone tremendous advancement over the past decade. The reason cited for this is the need to improved diagnostic yield and to reduce turnaround time through robust information management, with the ultimate aim to improve patient outcome.
The origin of the technology is traced back to November 1895. Modern medical imaging equipment looks very different from the one used a hundred years ago, however, the fundamental physics and principles behind the procedures remain the same.
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Diagnostic imaging as it is known today was discovered by German professor Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen. In November 1895, he discovered that highly energetic ‘rays’, which he called X-rays, penetrated solid organic material and further induced a chemical process on a photographic plate. Röntgen named the rays thus only because a name hadn’t been invented yet, but the nomenclature stuck; in many languages, though, the rays came to be known as Röntgen rays. Notably, he was also aware of the risks of overexposure to X-rays and regularly used protective material during his demonstrations. Due to his breakthrough contribution to the field, Röntgen is considered the father of diagnostic radiology.
With new imaging modalities such as magnetic resonance and ultrasonography coming into use, the need for X-ray-based investigations may have declined substantially over the past few years, however, more than two-thirds of the total diagnostic procedures carried out are still based on the principles that Röntgen discovered over a hundred years ago.
Technological Innovation Ongoing in Medical Imaging Equipment
Researchers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have developed a way that replaces complex, expensive imaging equipment with relatively inexpensive equipment.
Fluorescence lifetime imaging, as the technique is called, pairs a Microsoft Kinect sensor with sophisticated mathematical modeling that can perform the task of a lab microscope. Same as the ubiquitous technique that ‘glow in the dark’ materials work on, the newly developed apparatus depends on the property of fluorescence, wherein the use of a fluorescent dye reveals the chemical composition of a biological sample by measuring the time interval between the absorption and emission of light in the same.
X-ray Diagnostics Crucial for Medical Imaging-based Treatments
The consistent advancements in medical imaging technology and its associated equipment hold promise for the several industry sectors that thrive on these developments. Owing to this, the global medical imaging equipment market will expand at a CAGR of 5.60% from 2015 to 2023, say analysts at leading market analysis firm Transparency Market Research (TMR).
X-ray imaging devices are the most widely used among all imaging devices, says the TMR study. Easy availability of and patient confidence in X-rays based diagnostics support the popularity of these imaging devices. With the rising incidence of cardiovascular, oral, genitourinary, respiratory, and gastrointestinal disorders across the world, the dependence on X-ray diagnostics is on the rise.
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Another major use of X-ray devices lies in treating dental health. According to statistics of the World Health Organization, around 60% to 90% school children and 80% to 90% adults that are in the age group of 19 to 34 years suffer from dental cavities. The presence of oral cancer is alarming: 1-10 individuals per every 100,000 individuals suffer from the condition across the globe. Due to these two factors, the global X-ray market and consequently the global medical imaging equipment market receives a boost.