Report predicts rise in diagnostic imaging

Demand for outpatient diagnostic imaging has never been higher; and it is only expected to increase over the next three years. In fact, demand for outpatient diagnostic imaging is expected to increase by double digits across all modalities (CT, nuclear Cardiology, MRI, ultrasound, general radiology, DEXA, PET, mammography, nuclear science) through 2012.

Washington G-2 Reports' (Newark, New Jersey) Diagnostic Imaging Industry Outlook 2009: Market Trends & Analysis provides perspective on the top 10 trends that will shape the structure and the growth of the diagnostic imaging industry, through 2012. The company says the research provides insight into the size and structure of the U.S. diagnostic imaging market, managed care, Medicare and Medicaid, M&A, modality utilization and trends, the imaging equipment market and the overall outlook for the U.S. diagnostic and imaging market – including advice on imminent challenges that could affect providers' ability to expand or even survive in coming years.

Spider silk strengthened with metal

Kraig Biocraft Laboratories (Lansing, Michigan) said that scientists have discovered a way to make spider silk three times stronger by adding small amounts of metal. Even though the natural spider-made fiber is already tougher and lighter than steel, this new technique could make it useful for manufacturing super-tough textiles and high-tech medical materials, such as artificial bones and tendons. The discovery was based on the observation that some insects show traces of metals in the toughest parts of their body parts. The jaws of leaf-cutter ants and locusts, for example, both contain high levels of zinc, making them particularly stiff and hard.

Kraig Biocraft specializes in making polymers and protein-based materials including spider silk.

Study examines genetics in prostate cancer

Researchers have described how a common genetic variation may be involved in the development of prostate cancer. The variant occurs in a gene known to be involved in prostate function. The study, which included a team of researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (both Bethesda, Maryland), uncovered how a small change in the DNA of the gene impacts the biology of prostate cancer risk. The study was published online April 20, 2009, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Differences in the sequence of DNA among individuals are called genetic variations, and some known variations have been associated with an increased risk of certain diseases, such as prostate cancer. The most common type of genetic variation is a change in a single nucleotide, or base, which is one of the building blocks of DNA. Such single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are used in genome-wide association studies of large numbers of individuals with and without a disease to identify DNA regions that are associated with the disease. Although previous studies have identified regions of the genome that are associated with prostate cancer risk, this study was one of the first to explain the biological mechanism underlying the difference in risk among individuals.

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