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X-ray imaging with “just enough” radiation

​​List, a CEA Tech institute, has developed tools that can reduce the dose of X-ray radiation delivered during medical imaging procedures without compromising the quality of the diagnosis. The advance will help eliminate the complications associated with overdosages.​​​​​

Published on 6 June 2016

France's national nuclear safety board (ANSN) recently condemned an increase in radio-induced cancers—especially in children—due to repeated exposure to X-rays.

Researchers at List are investigating ways to improve control over the dose delivered to patients during medical imaging procedures. Their work started with an algorithm to estimate the dose delivered. And, for personalized calculations, each individual patient's height and weight, plus factors related to the type of imaging procedure (like the machine settings and the direction and position of the patient's body in the machine), were factored in. In parallel, the researchers developed a tool to determine on a case-by-case basis the dose of radiation required to achieve the desired quality of diagnosis. "The goal was to determine the minimum dose to deliver without affecting image quality, a decisive factor in ensuring radiologists' diagnoses are accurate," said a List researcher. The process involved submitting a range of images to a panel of seasoned radiologists to determine the minimum quality required on previously-determined subjective criteria. The data was then used to determine how to achieve the corresponding data acquisition configuration.

When combined with the dose calculation algorithm in a software application under development, the tool can determine the optimal machine configuration to ultimately deliver six times less radiation to the patient without harming image quality. The software will target medical imaging device manufacturers for integration into their future products.

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