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Ever colour X-ray on a human

14 July 2018

Traditional X-rays produce a black image when passing through soft tissue and a white image when absorbed by denser bone material.

New Zealand scientists have performed the first-ever 3-D, colour X-ray on a human, using a technique that promises to improve the field of medical diagnostics, said Europe's CERN physics lab which contributed imaging technology. The scanner uses hybrid-pixel technology called Medipix3, which was initially developed for the Large Hadron Collider. "The Medipix collaborations have adapted the technology to create new detectors which fundamentally change how x-ray images are taken and used". Because of this innovative form of x-raying, the images produced are reliable with high contrast and high resolution making the technology ideal for use in the medical field.

Phil (father) and Anthony (son) Butler from Canterbury and Otago Universities, dedicated full 10 years to build their 3D x-ray scanner.

MARS Bioimaging Ltd, which is commercialising the 3D scanner, is linked to the University of Otago and Canterbury.

Developed by the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, the new device works like a camera, collecting individual sub-atomic particles as they rapidly collide with pixels when its shutter is open, the Agence France Press reported. The Medipix3 chip is now the most advanced chip available.

According to their official website MARS, scanners generate multi-energy images with high spatial resolution and low noise.

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"X-ray spectral information allows health professionals to measure the different components of body parts such as fat, water, calcium, and disease markers".

Anthony mentioned that researchers are now using a smaller version of the MARS scanner to study cancer and other vascular diseases.

"This technology sets the machine apart diagnostically because its small pixels and accurate energy resolution mean that this new imaging tool is able to get images that no other imaging tool can achieve", Phil Butler said in a release.

Professor Anthony Butler told CERN that, "In all of these studies, promising early results suggest that when spectral imaging is routinely used in clinics, it will enable more accurate diagnosis and personalization of treatment".

A magnified X-ray captured by CERN's Medipix. "Real-life applications such as this one fuels our efforts to reach even further".

Ever colour X-ray on a human