Spine Partnership | Coil Breakthrough | Mood Disorder fMRI AI

“This study takes a major step towards finding a biomarker of medication response in emerging adults with complex mood disorders. . . It also suggests that we may one day have an objective measure of psychiatric illness through brain imaging that would make diagnosis faster, more effective and more consistent across health care providers.”

Lawson Health Research Institute scientist, Elizabeth Osuch, MD, commenting on the impact a new fMRI AI algorithm may have on the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric illness. This seems like a big step for a historically subjective area of healthcare.



The Imaging Wire

Siemens and NuVasive Spine Surgury Partnership
Siemens Healthineers and NuVasive launched a strategic partnership focused on advancing minimally invasive spine surgery. Through their “Spine Precision Partnership,” the companies will develop new intra-operative 3D-imaging and navigation tools to improve operating room workflow and increase precision, starting with a project that integrates NuVasive’s Pulse automation platform and Siemens’ Cios Spin mobile 3D imaging solution. This seems like solid match, given Siemens and NuVasive’s strong respective positioning in imaging and spine surgery.


Russia’s MRI Coil Breakthrough
Russian researchers developed a new self-resonant MRI coil design capable of 3-times greater image resolution than current commercial coils. Intended for preclinical studies, the new coil can image whole bodies of mice in high resolution, representing a major advancement from current techniques, which require either combining images from several smaller receiving coils (complicated) or using one big standard coil (low image quality). The coil achieves its small size by using a metastructure with a distributed capacity, while the coil’s improved sensitivity and image quality is made possible by achieving higher alternating magnetic field intensity. The coil was developed with low raw material costs and a flexible manufacturing technique, which the researchers suggests make it adaptable for future projects. We’re not going to pretend we know what most of this means, but we get that higher image resolution is better (and simple, cheap, and flexible are good), making this new technology worth keeping an eye on.


Fujifilm Hits Xerox Roadblock, Hitting the Courts
Fujifilm’s goal of acquiring Xerox (and securing its Fuji Xerox business) was dealt another blow, as no Xerox shareholders spoke up in favor of the deal at the company’s recent general shareholder meeting. In light of the fierce pushback from Xerox’s new leadership, the hefty influence of Xerox’s activist investors (Deason and Icahn), and lack of interest from Xerox shareholders, Fuji Xerox is going to court to try to make this deal happen. Fujifilm is now appealing an injunction placed on the acquisition in April due to claims of improper negotiations. If successful, the appeal would allow Fujifilm to legally force Xerox to adhere to its previous agreement to be acquired by Fujifilm. However, if Fujifilm’s legal efforts fail (quite possible), it’s hard to see how the Xerox/Fujifilm relationship could heal, potentially ensuring the end of Xerox and Fuji Xerox’s longstanding OEM and territory agreements. Although this has little to do with medical imaging (directly), the end of the FX/Xerox partnership would have a major impact on Fujifilm, given that the majority of Fujifilm’s revenue comes from Fuji Xerox and noting that some believe that Xerox and FX may not be able survive without each other.


Fujifilm, Shimadzu, and Carestream Wrap-up Q2 2018 Financials
The fourth wave of Q2 medical imaging financial reports hit the press, bringing positive medical imaging performances from Fujifilm and RadNet and mixed quarters from Shimadzu and Carestream.

Fujifilm – Print declines drove a 1.2% drop in revenue at Fujifilm to ¥564.9 billion ($5.09b), while improvements across divisions helped operating income jump 8.2% to ¥36.9 billion ($332.8m). Fujifilm’s healthcare business scored a 11.5% revenue increase to ¥101.8 billion ($918m), while operating profit hit ¥0.8 billion after a ¥1.1 operating loss last year ($7.2m vs. -$9.9m) due to strong sales of its in-vitro diagnostics, x-ray, and endoscopy product lines.

ShimadzuShimadzu started its fiscal 2018/2019 strong with a 13% revenue increase to ¥85.65 billion ($772.5m) and a 47.7% increase in operating income to ¥5.74 billion ($51.7m). Shimadzu Medical Systems relied on strong mobile system and fluoroscopy sales to drive 7.4% revenue growth to ¥14.22 billion ($128m), reducing the group’s operating loss by 78% to ¥124 million ($1.1m).

Onex, Carestream’s private equity parent company, increased revenue by 4% to $6.4 billion in Q2, while posting a $262 million loss (vs. $2.7 billion in net earnings in Q2 2017). The company’s medical imaging business saw revenue decline 17% to $415 million, while net income improved from break-even to a $25 million profit.

– Major outpatient imaging provider, RadNet, rode a 6.3% revenue increase to $244.4 million in Q2, while net income increased 1.8% to $5.4 million.



The Wire

  • Researchers from the Lawson Health Research Institute and the Mind Research Network developed an AI algorithm that can distinguish patients with mood disorders like major depressive disorder (MDD) from bipolar patients based on functional MRI image analysis. The algorithm achieved 92% accuracy differentiating MDD and bipolar patients and was over 91% accurate in predicting medication response.
  • Months after being convicted in the press, Brazilian prosecutors formally charged GE Latin America CEO, Daurio Speranzini Jr., for his involvement in a Rio de Janeiro-area bribery and price fixing scheme. The formal charges reaffirm that although Speranzini’s involvement started when he led Philips Medical Systems Brazil (2004 – 2010), they continued for five more years as Speranzini ascended within GE.
  • South Korean researchers found that ultrasounds performed using a shear-wave elastography technique can help diagnose if patients who have biopsy-confirmed ductal carcinoma in situ actually have more-invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer. By adding shear-wave elastography, which measures lesion elasticity, physicians are able to identify stiffness and therefore understand if the lesion is invasive.
  • Israeli medical imaging AI company, Aidoc, announced the FDA clearance of its Aidoc brain solution, which helps radiologists identify patients with acute intracranial hemorrhages (ICH). The solution is the first to assist with workflow triage, examining head CT scans and informing the radiologist if ICH is detected.
  • An editorial on 24xmag.com stated a case that OEMs should put customer satisfaction ahead of revenue by making service keys more easily available to third party service providers. The editorial countered OEMs’ claims that service accreditation programs help ensure quality, suggesting that these requirements are mainly intended to capture service revenue and speed-up the replacement sales cycle.
  • Carestream announced X-ray installations at Intermountain Healthcare’s Alta View Clinic (Sandy, Utah) and the San Antonio University Health System’s main hospital, continuing its relationship with two long-time clients. The Alta View Clinic installed three DRX-Ascend Systems, while Carestream converted San Antonio University Hospital to digital radiography with the installation of five DRX-Evolution Plus Systems and 12 DRX-Revolution Mobile X-ray Systems.
  • Brown University researchers found that physicians can safely perform renal mass biopsies at the same time as image-guided tumor ablation.
  • Sotera Health closed the previously-announced sale of its Nordion business’ medical isotopes segment to BWX Technologies, transferring its radiochemical, medical isotope, and contract manufacturing operations. With the sale, Sotera will focus its Nordion business on driving growth in gamma technologies.



The Resource Wire

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