• Medtronic Sofamor Danek (Memphis, Tennessee) said that a study by the National Institutes of Health shows patients who have back surgery for herniated lumbar discs have substantial improvement in such key indicators as bodily pain, physical function and disability, according to a presentation at the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine in Bergen, Norway. SPORT (Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial) was a five-year study that looked at three specific diagnoses that routinely result in surgery: herniated lumbar discs, spinal stenosis and degenerative spondylolisthesis. The presentation reported the one-year randomized and two-year observational outcomes for patients in the disc herniation study. Among the findings: patients presenting with herniated disc symptoms and associated physical findings did significantly better with surgery than did non-operative patients; and 94% of patients had no surgical complications after two years.

• R2 Technology (Sunnyvale, California), a provider of computer-aided detection (CAD) technology, reported the launch of Version 2.1 of its ImageChecker CT Lung CAD System, which features expanded PACS integration and updates to the pulmonary artery Patency Exam (PE) tool. With V2.1, results from R2's AutoPoint Temporal Comparison tool used with lung nodule detection can now be sent to a PACS workstation for full enterprise accessibility, without the need for R2's dedicated CT CAD workstation. AutoPoint automatically matches and tracks lung nodule changes in order to minimize intra-reader measurement variability and to expedite case review. Also with the V2.1 software, R2's PE tool features expanded software capability by providing volume calculations for filling defects, which can help the physician's decision-making. The PE tool now is available separately from R2's lung nodule detection system, offering increased configuration flexibility.

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