UT Imaging opens in Houston

UT Imaging (Bellaire, Texas), a partnership between UT Physicians, the medical practice of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, and Outpatient Imaging Affiliates (Nashville, Tennessee), has officially opened.

UT Imaging provides MRI and computed tomography scans, ultrasound studies, X-rays and DEXA for bone density measurement. In addition to advanced diagnostic imaging equipment, UT Imaging offers wide sub-specialty medical expertise, provided by UT radiologists, and quick report turnaround times.

UT Imaging also offers physicians a secure and convenient way to access information about the status of patients referred to UT Imaging for imaging studies. Through its referring practice web portal, UT Imaging provides real-time, secure and convenient access to patient reports and images - both current and historical - as well as patient appointment availability and status.

"UT Imaging will expand our faculty's scope of clinical practice and make their specialized expertise more widely available to Houston-area patients and physicians," said Dr. Susan John, professor and chair of the department of diagnostic and interventional imaging at the University of Texas Medical School.

Accuray expands facilities

To meet the growing worldwide demand for its CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System, robotic radiosurgery manufacturer Accuray (Sunnyvale, California) reported the opening of an expanded manufacturing facility in Sunnyvale. The facility immediately doubles Accuray's production capacity and is sized to support the company's growth over the next decade, it said.

In addition, the company strengthened its international presence by opening expanded regional offices in Paris and Hong Kong to address the surge in sales and installations of the CyberKnife System worldwide.

"Accuray's global expansion is further evidence that the CyberKnife System is recognized as an essential tool in the fight against cancer, treating tumors anywhere in the body," said Euan Thomson, PhD, president and CEO of Accuray.

Accuray's expanded manufacturing plant strengthens the company's R&D efforts. The new facility enables Accuray to accelerate the pace of product development and to continue to bring the latest innovations in robotic radiosurgery to current and future CyberKnife customers, it said.

The company also opened a new training center in February. The center is located in Accuray's corporate headquarters in Sunnyvale and allows the company to provide more clinicians with the critical information required to make radiosurgery an option for every cancer patient.

VivoMetrics to conduct space sleep study

VivoMetrics (Ventura, California), in partnership with the University of Limerick and with sponsorship from the European Space Agency, said it would be conducting a study to evaluate and determine the quality of sleep of astronauts while in orbit, with the goal of providing a healthier sleep environment for astronauts in the future.

As part of the study, Thomas Reiter, a German astronaut, will wear the VivoMetrics LifeShirt System aboard the International Space Station, after traveling there on the Discovery Space Shuttle later this year.

In the experiment, astronauts will wear the light-weight, machine-washable garment with embedded sensors to record sleep activity by assessing cardiac activity from an electrocardiogram and other physiological parameters. They will use an integrated PDA to answer a series of sleep-related questions as part of a subjective "sleep diary." Analysis software will then produce a sleep spectrogram that researchers will use to measure the astronauts' stability of sleep.

VivoMetrics describes the LifeShirt as the first non-invasive, ambulatory monitoring system that continuously collects, records, and analyzes a broad range of cardiopulmonary parameters.

HealthTronics opens anatomical pathology lab

HealthTronics (Austin, Texas) reported that it has opened its anatomical pathology laboratory, which has as its primary focus service to the urology community. The lab is located in a life sciences building on the campus of the Medical College of Georgia (Augusta, Georgia).

John Barnidge, interim president and CEO, said, "Our customers and physician partners will benefit from technological innovations, including web-based reporting capabilities and bar code assisted workflow. With input from our physician partners, we have also developed a unique, patent-pending biopsy kit to maximize efficiencies and quality assurance for both the physician and lab personnel."

HealthTronics provides healthcare services primarily to related to urology in addition to making medical devices. The company also manufactures specialty vehicles used for the transport of high-technology medical devices and broadcast and communications equipment.

Digital X-ray units gaining acceptance

With the wealth of clinical applications and diverse systems choices, digital X-ray units are steadily gaining acceptance by technologists and physicians alike for the ease of use of digital images over film-based X-ray, according to a study by Frost & Sullivan (Palo Alto, California).

Though system prices still limit wide-scale market penetration, manufacturers are responding with decreasing selling prices annually as well as offering a range of systems that can benefit both large hospitals and smaller private practice groups, the study reported.