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X-ray tricks cut breast scan dose

first_imgHealthLifestyle X-ray tricks cut breast scan dose by: – October 23, 2012 Sharing is caring! Share Share Tweetcenter_img Share 23 Views   no discussions The image compares a conventional CT scan (l) and a scan with the new approach and 1/25th the doseAn international research team has proposed a way to make high-resolution, 3D images of breast tissue while reducing the delivered X-ray dose.Breast tissue is particularly susceptible to X-ray radiation so 3D scanning is generally not employed.Now a team reporting in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests a different form of X-rays and a new image analysis approach. However, new compact X-ray sources are needed to bring the idea to the clinic.Taken together, the two improvements lead to high-resolution 3D images while reducing the delivered dose to just 4% that of standard “computed tomography” scans.A phenomenally successful technique in X-ray scanning over the past half-century, CT scans are made with a number of X-ray images taken from various angles that are analysed to yield a 3D view.The approach is reserved for the imaging of parts of the body for which these multiple X-ray exposures is deemed safe, generally excluding “radiosensitive” breast tissue.Instead, what is known as dual-view mammography is employed, producing two conventional X-ray images of the breast – a methodology that is known to miss 10-20% of tumours.One to watchRecent years have seen growth in the use of what is called phase contrast imaging, which measures not only how much X-ray light gets through tissue, but also in a sense how long it takes to get there. This yields a far clearer picture of subtle changes in density that can show tumours.Now researchers from the US and Germany working at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in France have refined the phase contrast approach using what they call equally sloped tomography.The improvement is in the mathematics used to analyse X-ray images – instead of taking a number of images at evenly spaced angles around a sample, EST takes images at irregular angle intervals and uses improved equations to reconstruct the 3D representation.Co-author of the study Paola Coan of Ludwig Maximilians University explained that an analogy of the process is a watch.“Instead of having a hand that measures every second, we have a hand that follows a certain scheme, the first hand movement is 1.2 seconds, then 0.7 then maybe 0.9, but at the end, thanks to EST, we still measure perfectly the minute,” she explained to BBC News. “With this mathematical trick we avoid interpolation and the image looks better – we even need to take fewer radiographs to reconstruct the computed tomography full image.”Testing the approach at the ESRF with a whole mastectomied breast, the team showed that they could acquire images as sharp as those of conventional CT scans using just a quarter of the delivered X-ray dose.But they carried the work further by using the ESRF’s capabilities to run the same test with higher-energy X-rays. Soft tissue is more transparent to these “harder” X-rays and therefore less radiation is absorbed. As members of the team showed in an article in Physics in Medicine and Biology in April, images of a quality comparable to standard CT can be acquired with harder X-rays corresponding to just a sixth the radiation dose.In combination, the techniques result in the resolution of a full CT scan while delivering a dose just 4% as large.“We’ve demonstrated that by combining X-rays at high energy plus this sophisticated CT reconstruction, we’re able to perform a complete CT with high resolution, but with a dose that is much lower than than in conventional CT and potentially… lower than dual-view mammography,” Prof Coan said.“This is an extraordinary result.”However, she added that compact, high-quality X-ray sources capable of the higher-energy regime are still necessary to get the technique established in the clinical setting, a research effort that is underway for a number of industries.BBC Newslast_img read more

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AFCON 2013:’Special One’ helps Cape Verde coach

first_imgCape Verde Islands coach Luis Antunes will have an advantage over his 15 rivals when the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations kicks off here Saturday.Anxious that his debutants do not suffer the same three-loss humiliation as Botswana and Niger in the previous edition last year, the 46-year-old air traffic controller sought the help of Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho.The self-proclaimed “Special One” agreed that Antunes could spend one week shadowing him as he went about his work with superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo at one of the most famous football clubs in the world.Mourinho, who has won league titles with Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, was impressed by the man who plotted the downfall of four-time champions Cameroon in a 2013 Africa Cup eliminator.“Antunes is an intelligent coach. He has his own ideas, is well-organised, methodical and ambitious. He is a very good coach,” was the glowing Mourinho assessment of the Cape Verdean.On a sabbatical from his air traffic controller post at Nelson Mandela airport on the island of Sal since 2010, Antunes played down local media comparisons with Mourinho and Brazilian World Cup winner Luis Felipe Scolari. “They are two coaches who operate on quite a different level and can draw on a different realm of experience. The comparison simply is not justified, but I would give anything to be a Mourinho or Scolari,” he told reporters.Antunes, who succeeded Portuguese Joao de Deus as coach after working with national age-limit squads, could hardly have asked for a tougher start at the premier African football competition.South Africa in front of 90,000 hostile supporters, many blowing ear-piercing vuvuzelas (plastic horns) at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, is the task awaiting a Blue Sharks team skippered by veteran defender Nando Saturday.But Antunes is unperturbed and has set his ambitions far higher than damage limitation in Group A against 1996 winners South Africa, former champions Morocco, and Angola.“We are dreaming of reaching the quarter-finals and then, who knows? We might even get to the semi-finals,” he says of a team containing two locals plus barely known footballers scattered across the leagues of Europe. “It is very important to show Africa and the world a good image of the Cape Verde Islands so that people can see the amount of work we have done over the past few years.”With a population of little more than 500,000 on 10 islands 600 kilometres off the Senegalese coast, Cape Verde is the smallest country to compete at the Cup of Nations.But the progress of the Sharks has been remarkable with the team ranked 15 in Africa and 70 in the world by FIFA this week — higher than Morocco (17/74), Angola (19/78) and South Africa (22/85).“Tactically speaking, we have made a lot of progress, we play well as a unit and we fight hard for each other. Everyone comes back to help out defensively,” boasted Netherlands-based defender Guy Ramos.last_img read more

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Blair poised to step down

first_imgAnd there were triumphs: three consecutive election victories, a booming economy, diplomacy that brought peace to Northern Ireland. Britain got a minimum wage. Scotland and Wales got their own elected parliaments, while hereditary elements of membership in the House of Lords, the upper legislative chamber, were sharply curtailed. Gay couples were allowed to wed in civil partnerships. But those victories were engulfed by later events: the 2005 suicide bombings on London transport that killed 52, worsening relations with the Muslims whom Blair had sought to draw closer to the British fold; a corruption probe and the accusation that he had become President George W. Bush’s poodle. What Blair initially lacked in experience, he made up for with youthful exuberance and optimism. Life without war? “Mine is the first generation able to contemplate the possibility that we may live our entire lives without going to war or sending our children to war,” he said shortly after becoming prime minister. The Iraq war confounded that hope. But before Iraq became the all-consuming issue, Blair had much going for him. He revived his struggling Labour party, calling it “New Labour” and scrapping old socialist doctrine for pro-market policies and welfare reform. Under his leadership and that of Brown, his designated successor, Britain emerged from a long economic slump. They made the Bank of England independent, broke Britain out of years of boom-and-bust cycles, and kept inflation low for years. Britain is now the world’s fifth-largest economy, with 2007 growth projections of nearly 3percent. The British pound is at its strongest in more than a decade. Unemployment has been slashed. Funding of the National Health Service nearly tripled. Hospitals got more nurses. Waiting lists for critical operations shrunk. Tax credits helped families and the poorest communities. Spending on education doubled. Muslims especially benefited from Blair’s reforms, which included state funding to faith-based schools. “The new government became engaged in a dialogue with Muslims that was not there under the Tories,” said Ahmed Versi, editor of Muslim News. That was before Blair joined the Iraq war and the bombs went off on London subways and a bus. Doing what’s right A practicing Protestant, Blair pursued what he called an “ethical foreign policy.” With a natural ally in President Clinton, he pushed for intervention in East Timor and Sierra Leone. Two years into his premiership he joined NATO’s campaign to oust Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia. He championed aid for Africa and the effort to curb global warming. Northern Ireland was his most successful diplomatic effort. He broke with previous leaders by offering Sinn Fein, the political voice of the Irish Republican Army, a place in negotiations in exchange for an IRA truce. His efforts culminated in a historic spectacle Tuesday when Catholic and Protestant leaders, lifelong adversaries, were sworn in at the head of a new provincial government. Although Blair’s vision for his party was clear, the Sept.11, 2001, attacks on the United States muddied many of his hoped reforms. 9-11 bound 2 nations The attacks bound Britain to America. But many of Britain’s 1.6million Muslims felt an immediate and chilling difference. A raft of anti-terrorism legislation authorized police to hold suspects longer without charge. Dozens of Muslim groups were banned. Police put some mosques under surveillance. Then, a day after Blair rejoiced in London’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympics, came the transit bombings. In a video, bomber Shehzad Tanweer accused Britain of declaring war on Islam. His Yorkshire accent and history of service to his community marked him as a homegrown Englishman, and the sudden realization that he was a jihadist shocked the nation and seemed to mock Blair’s vision of a multicultural Britain. Even tougher anti-terrorism measures have followed, and Muslim resentment has grown. But it is Iraq, and his alliance with the United States, that dominates his legacy in the twilight of his rule. “Very early on, he made a philosophical commitment to working with America at all costs,” Anthony Seldon, a Blair biographer, told The Associated Press. “Iraq will be the single most defining issue for his legacy, but the two questions are going to be, was it the decision or the implementation that was at fault?” Colleagues said Blair often saw things in black and white. “He did Iraq because Iraq was right,” Seldon said. “He didn’t do it because he thought he had to.” Although most legislators initially supported his decision to join the war, two high-profile Cabinet ministers quit, and criticism of Blair grew to a crescendo as the argument for war – weapons of mass destruction – disintegrated. Blair was not the first British leader to throw in his lot with the United States. So did Winston Churchill, and Thatcher and Major. Although he is about to leave office, Blair may be trailed by a criminal inquiry into a cash-for-honors scandal. He is believed to be the first sitting prime minister to be questioned in a criminal inquiry. He had been called twice as a witness in an investigation into whether honors, such as knighthoods and seats in the House of Lords, were offered in return for loans to political parties. After he steps down this summer, Blair, 54, may hit the lecture circuit, or become an adviser to Africa or the European Union. Prime time Unusual moments in an unusual prime minister’s career: Boyhood idol of Tony Blair’s long-haired days: Mick Jagger. Ugly Rumours: The rock band in which Blair sang and played guitar while at Oxford University. Toughest parenting moment: His oldest son Euan’s arrest after he threw up in Leicester Square after a drinking binge celebrating the end of school exams in 2000. Proudest parenting moment: Blair’s wife, Cherie, gives birth on May 20, 2000, to Leo, the first baby born to a serving prime ministerial couple since the mid-19th century. Primal minister: On vacation in Mexico, Blair and Cherie joined in a Mayan rebirth ceremony at Temazcal, a steam bath in a brick pyramid in August 2001. Wearing swimsuits, they reportedly smeared each other with melon, papaya and mud before letting out primal screams. Celebrity vacation spots: Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb’s Miami Beach mansion; singer Cliff Richards’ Barbados villa; former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s 73-room Sardinian estate; French tycoon Alain Dominique Perrin’s 15th century chateau in southwest France, 2002. Her trainer: Carole Caplin, Cherie Blair’s “lifestyle guru,” had her No.10 Downing St. pass removed in November 2003 after complaints that the former topless model had unrestricted access to the prime minister’s official residence.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “The truth is,” Blair said, “you can’t go on forever.” The mood today couldn’t be more different from the euphoria that greeted Blair’s arrival at No.10 DowningSt. Breath of fresh air Returning his Labour Party to power after 18 years under Conservatives Margaret Thatcher and John Major, he pledged to make Britain prosperous, boost the working class, make the government accountable and restore Britain’s standing on the world stage. He seemed a breath of fresh air, a rock ‘n’ roll fan. No sooner was he elected than he and his wife, Cherie, had a baby. 1997, his first year in power, had its elegiac moments: Blair presiding over the return of Hong Kong, jewel of the British empire, to China; Blair eulogizing Princess Diana, killed in a Paris car crash. LONDON – The bitter end is near for Tony Blair, whose decade of achievements has faded into the shadows of the Iraq war. The boyish-looking leader nicknamed “Bambi,” just 43 when he became prime minister a decade ago, has gone gray, his furrowed brow making him appear worn. Each crease represents a difficult chapter in the past decade – Princess Diana’s death, suicide bombings in London, scandals leading to the arrests of top aides, the unpopular war that has cost nearly 150 British lives. “In government, you carry each hope, each disillusion … ,” Blair said in September, near the beginning of what has been a long, slow march toward an announcement today that he will step down to allow for a party leadership contest that will likely end this summer. Gordon Brown, his treasury chief, is expected to become Britain’s next prime minister; general elections won’t be held until 2009, at the earliest. last_img read more

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