Medical images, whether produced by CT, MRI, X-ray or ultrasound, are basically 2D slices of 3D objects. But the process of interpreting those images involves mental spatial calculations that often result in the loss of some clinical information, said Sergio Aguirre, founder and chief technology officer of Echopixel technologies.
Consequently, Aguirre is working on a virtual holographic solution that could improve reading accuracy and efficiency by allowing physicians to see and interact with tissue in space as if it were a real physical object.
To understand the potential clinical value of what Aguirre is calling “True 3D,” it’s important to understand the role spatial cognition plays in the evaluation of medical images.
According to Madeleine Keehner, PhD, a research scientist for the Educational Testing Service and director of the Spatial Cognition Laboratory at the University of Dundee in Scotland, spatial cognition is the ability to mentally represent and manipulate spatial information.
She pointed out that because most medical images show a 2D representation of a 3D object, physicians reading that image need to mentally reconstruct the object. “So spatial cognition involves taking that image and constructing a 3D recreation in your mind,” she said, “and there are big individual differences in how well people can do that.”
Consequently, according to Aguirre, reading and interpreting a medical image is a “cognitively intensive process.”
“Doctors have to mentally deliberate as they evaluate images and they’ll have to try to look at different views to get more information and determine if what they see is the tissue they want to evaluate,” Aguirre said. “A lot of clinically significant information gets lost by looking at 2D views of 3D anatomy.” Aguirre wants to provide is a “true 3D visualization platform” that allows a reader to see subjects as 3D objects that he or she can manipulate and interact with.
The technology allows physicians to grasp, manipulate and look at objects, Aguirre said, and that should affect the role that spatial cognition plays in interpreting images and increase “what we call the intuition part of looking at medical data and we believe this really helps doctors understand anatomy in a much easier and thorough way.
(To read full article please see: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com)