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article imageCaveman Takes Doctors to a New Level

By KJ Mullins     May 29, 2007 in Technology
Canadian researchers have gone where no doctor has before. To the 4D of imaging. With it doctors can show patients what their illnesses look like inside their bodies and plot out more precisely complex surgeries.
The fourth D is the passage through time.
Called Caveman, this latest technology is huge. In every sense of the word.
Viewed from within a booth with 3D glasses you can almost reach out and touch the images.
Doctors can layer on different imaging tests such as MRIs, CAT scans and X-rays of their patients and view the completed image as if the body was floating in front of them.
The University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine says that it will be of use to researchers in many areas, including cancer and Alzheimer research.
"Today, this kind of a model is unique in the world. It's the only one that is complete," said Christoph Sensen, director of the medical school's Sun Center of Excellence for Visual Genomics.
"We have components of models. We could make this thing with 50 different brains because everybody makes their own brain model. What we didn't have was a whole, complete body."
Caveman is the step-child of the 3D virtual reality "Cave", a 5.5 million dollar model at the Sun Centre made in 2002.
This research model was started from the desire of massage therapy teachers wanting to get a better model of muscles and bones to teach their students.
Caveman can appear to be very game like with it's joystick remote control. Don't let that impression fool you. This new tool for research and learning has the potential to aid in curing diseases like cancer.
Being able to merge imaging tests along with blood tests doctors will be able to work together with specialists easier. Doctors in different cities can compare images without having to travel to the patient.
Cadaver studies can be reduced with the imaging showing as complete a picture.
"We want to do this so any patient can walk up to a machine with a surgeon in tow who says, 'This is what it looked like six weeks ago and this is what it looked like today. You better get surgery now'."
Next step is developing versions that can be sold to hospitals. Some day soon you may hear your doctor say time to look at the Caveman.
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