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The Development of Technology and Its Influence on Nuclear Medicine

by Tess Hughes

Evolution of man cartoon


      By the 1980's computers were widely utilised in the nuclear medicine community. Analogue to digital converters allowed acquired data to be stored within the computer, mathematically manipulated with the aid of a monitor, and then imaged onto film. Curve generation and regions of interest were appreciated as valuable tools for diagnostic medicine. For SPECT, much progress had been made to overcome attenuation problems using iterative and analytical approaches. Highly efficient systems incorporated both multiple detector-heads and large fields-of-view.

      The loss of image data resolution when networking was successfully overcome at the University of Kansas, with the development of the Ethernet, in 1981.18 This brought us one step closer to 'telemedicine'.

      The network connections between army bases, universities, and science centres grew, creating an ever-expanding web of computers. In 1985, the National Science Foundation (NSF) improved the system by funding the NSFNET. Five supercomputer centres within US Universities formed this first Internet system which could send data at 56 kilobits per second - which is slower than some of today's modems.25 At present 128 kbps modems are being manufactured. There are many contributing factors to increasing data transfer speed, including cable type and server capabilities, which can put rates up to 840Mbps.

The Trionix Biad camera in 1989
Figure 17: The Trionix Biad camera, in 1989.31

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