New MRI technique helps docs diagnose, treat MS more effectively; Can retrofitted cyclotrons solve medical isotope shortages?;

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> Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a new MRI program that, by detailing the location and magnitude of brain lesions, can help physicians more effectively diagnose and treat multiple sclerosis. According to a study published in Neurology, this new method of magnetic resonance scanning not only looks at electromagnetic intensity, but takes electromagnetic frequency into account as well, Everyday Health reported. The new technique allows physicians to pick up brain damage faster and more effectively determine how well a patient is responding to medication. Article

> Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics--TRIUMF--has demonstrated that retrofitted medical cyclotrons can be used to produce the critical isotope technetium-99m, TheScientist reported. One cyclotron was recently tested at Vancouver's B.C. Cancer Agency and created enough of the isotope overnight to treat 250 patients--enough to meet the daily needs of a city the size of Vancouver. According to TRIUMF, the use of these retrofitted cyclotrons could eliminate the need to rely on nuclear reactors to supply the isotope and provide a solution to potential future shortages. Article

> A new study out of the University of Florida shows that the use of diffusion tensor imaging--or diffusion MRI, as it's also known--can help improve the diagnosis of movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease. Diffusion tensor imaging is used to examine the diffusion of water molecules within the brain in order to identify key areas that have been affected as a result of damage to gray matter and white matter. "No other imaging, cerebrospinal fluid or blood marker has been this successful at differentiating these disorders," said David Vaillancourt, the study's principal investigator. "The results are very promising." Announcement

Health IT News

> With hackers and cyberattacks increasing as threats to medical devices, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week published new guidance calling for developers and healthcare facilities to beef up security efforts while creating and using those devices. Article

Health Finance News

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced $14.9 billion has been recouped as a result of bolstered Medicare fraud efforts under the Affordable Care Act. Altogether, CMS has barred nearly 15,000 providers from participating in Medicare over the past two years--more than double the rate of previous year. They either were convicted felons, gave false business addresses, or flouted CMS guidelines. In addition to tighter screenings, CMS also is providing Medicare enrollees with expanded billing information in order to help them better spot potential fraud. Article

And Finally… Was it named Winnie? Article

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