Scientists perform world's first 3D, colour X-ray on human body


Normal X-rays illuminate our insides in shades of grey - hard tissues like bone are white and soft tissues are black.

"The image of this new image can not be obtained with other image tools due to the small pixels and specific energy resolution of the machine", said Phill Butler, a student of University of Canterbury.

"So far researchers have been using a small version of the MARS scanner to study cancer, bone and joint health, and vascular diseases that cause heart attacks and strokes, "Anthony Butler, a radiologist at the Universities of Otago and Canterbury, said in a press release". Medipix is a family of chips that are utilized for particle detection and imaging. The concept behind the chip is that it works like a camera in that it detects and counts every individual particle that hits the pixels when the electronic shutter is opened.

The color X-ray technology, which could help improve the field of medical diagnostics, utilizes particle-tracking technology developed for CERN's Large Hadron Collider. The new device will allow to obtain more accurate results for doctors and patients. It allows high resolution and very reliable images that promised to have many more uses than just high-energy physics. The Medipix3 chip is now the most advanced chip available. As this happens, a sophisticated algorithm uses that information to produce a 3D image with different colors representing different materials scanned.

The 3D color scans deliver significantly more medical information than a conventional X-ray, showing fat, water, calcium and disease markers.

The MARS system is a medical scanner that captures the human body with astonishing detail.

"In all current studies, promising early results suggest that when spectral imaging is routinely used in clinics it will enable more accurate diagnosis and personalisation of treatment", Professor Butler added.

A magnified X-ray captured by CERN's Medipix.

Over the next few months, a group of patients from New Zealand with orthopedic and revmatologii problems will test the three-dimensional color x-rays in a clinical setting.