The other day I posted about some research going on to build unimaginably fast super-computers. The calculation numbers are so mind-boggling that it’s hard to relate to. But research done awhile back on building powerful but relatively inexpensive clusters of computers is paying off by improving a technique of breast cancer detection that wasn’t feasible in the past. Researchers from Northwestern U, the National Science Foundation, and Mass General Hospital are bringing super-computer power to bear on improving diagnostic imaging that will make better mammography commercially possible.
Called Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT), the system creates a 3-D
image of the breast using a series of x-ray projections collected
during a 20-second, 40-degree sweep. It makes cancer lesions easier to
detect among dense breast tissue by creating a stack of 1mm spaced
high-resolution slices that can be displayed individually, or assembled
into a 3-D view that can be rendered for more careful examination. DBT
also reduces the amount of breast compression required by traditional
mammography, which can deter women from getting an annual screening.
Better images and less squashing too. You can’t beat that. So when I see these basic technology breakthroughs like gazillions of calculations coming, I can’t help but think better tools are coming with time.