Federal Density | GMA’s Thermography Warning | Self-Trained Annotation

“Good news! As part of the funding bill Congress passed yesterday, the FDA must now ensure mammography reports include appropriate breast-density information.”

A tweet from Senator Dianne Feinstein, sharing the good news that the 1,169-page funding bill included a range of new breast density mammography reporting requirements.

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Breast Density Gets Federal Support
In addition to keeping the government open and granting $1.375 billion for a 55-mile border “pedestrian fence,” last week’s federal funding bill included a new requirement that should help improve breast density awareness across the country. Going forward, mammography reports will be required to provide information on each patient’s breast density, the effect of breast density on mammogram accuracy, and a reminder that patients with dense breasts should discuss their situation with their healthcare provider. This requirement was understandably overshadowed by the bill’s main components and Trump’s subsequent national emergency threats, but it’s still a big deal for breast health, creating federal-level support for breast density awareness for the first time.

EchoNous Bladder
EchoNous expanded its portfolio of nurse-targeted ultrasound scanning tools with the launch of the new EchoNous Bladder, joining the still-new EchoNous Vein and compatible EchoNous AI Station. The new bladder scanning tool combines a data-rich fanning motion, a built-in CNN algorithm, and a “rugged” probe design to help nurses determine patients’ bladder volume faster and more confidently. EchoNous specifically emphasized the bladder tool’s performance with pregnant and postpartum patients, its AI-supported volume calculations, and its all-electronic and non-mechanical design, noting that existing bladder scanners require manual calculations and are still using “outdated” mechanical probes.

GMA’s Thermography Warning
Good Morning America’s 4.5 million daily viewers learned what breast imaging professionals have largely agreed on: sufficient breast cancer screening requires more than just thermography, regardless of the thermal imaging techniques’ radiation-free benefits and fringe mammogram-alternative adoption. The TV segment detailed the experiences of two women who developed breast cancer after missed thermography-based diagnoses and provided some insights into thermography’s emergence as an alternative screening method, while serving as an effective and unfortunate reminder of the importance of mammogram-based screening.

Probo Acquires Trisonics
Probo Medical continued to put its PE funding to use, acquiring Pennsylvania-based ultrasound systems and service provider, Trisonics. The acquisition comes less than a year after Probo Medical and MedCorp merged to become one of the largest ultrasound equipment resellers in the US. The addition of Trisonics further boosts Probo’s service capabilities and expands its footprint to the eastern US. Probo is reportedly still “looking to continue to expand through acquisition,” contributing to a growing consolidation trend in the independent ultrasound sales, service, and refurbishing channel.

Self-Trained Annotation
A team of SUNY Buffalo researchers developed a tool that ‘teaches’ computers to annotate medical images, allowing radiologists and pathologists to perform analysis without machine learning knowledge or computer engineer ML training support. The “automatic, human-in-the-loop segmentation” tool automatically improves annotation and segmentation of medical images based on what it “learns” each time a clinician redraws a boundary on an image to pinpoint a particular structure or abnormality. Although SUNY Buffalo’s article largely focuses on pathology applications, it’s also intended for use by radiologists, and the theory and technology behind this new technique is promising for all medical imaging applications.

The Wire

  • Philips Healthcare announced its new Zenition mobile C-arm series, expanding the company’s C-arm portfolio and adopting many of the features introduced in its Azurion image-guided therapy platform (image capture, image processing, tablet-based user interface). The new Zenition 70 Flat Detector systems and Zenition 50 Image Intensifier systems will make their debut at the upcoming ECR show, but have already gained FDA and CE Mark clearance and are slated to launch in the US and continental Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) in H1 2019.

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