When x-rays were first discovered, medical images were viewed with devices such as fluorescent screens and eventually from x-ray film images. In the 1970's with the introduction of computers, 3D x-ray images could be produced, using machines known as Computed Tomography scanners, or simply CT scanners. As computing technologies advanced, it became possible to make larger and higher-resolution images faster while using lower dosage rays. Now, as data storage and network capacities have increased, it has become possible to store and send images digitally. This enables routine analysis of stored images using sophisticated tools.
More recently, by adapting microchip technology for use in x-ray detectors, it has become possible to measure the x-ray colour (or spectrum) in CT. This enables researchers to routinely measure tissue constituents that were previously difficult to obtain. Medical researchers are applying this to problems in vascular disease, cancer, and joint disease. Cutting edge CT research is now aiming to apply highly sophisticated algorithms to further increase accuracy and reduce x-ray dose. Again, massive computing power is required to solve the equations involved. Similarly, advances in computer graphics, such as stereo vision, are enabling researchers to interact with medical data in new ways.
This talk outlines the development of medical x-ray technology, highlighting advances made by NZ researchers over the last 45 years.
Anthony Butler is Head of Department of Radiology and Director of Bioengineering and Nanomedicine in the University of Otago at Christchurch. He also has an appointment in the Department of physics at the Univeristy of anterbury and academic affilations with CERN, Geneva.
He has an MBChB degree in Medicine from the University of Otago, a GradDipSc in Physics, and a PhD in Computer Engineering from the University of Canterbury. He is a consultant clinical radiologist with the Canterbury District Health Board, being a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists. He has won more than 10 awards for his research including awards from the Royal Society of NZ and the Royal Australian College of Radiologists. He is the lead investigator on over $12m of NZ government research grants, and co-investigator on more than $30m of other grants.
NOTE: Drinks and nibbles will be served from 6pm on Level 1 of the Owen G Glenn building