Dispatches: News from the College and Beyond

June 2017


ACR Leaders Receive Honorary ESR Membership

At its 2017 annual meeting, the European Society of Radiology (ESR) named two new honorary members, James A. Brink, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR BOC, and Richard L. Baron, MD, FACR, member of the BOC. Brink was recognized for outstanding achievements in imaging and radiation protection. Baron was acknowledged for the advancement of liver imaging and his commitment to research and education. ESR has more than 69,300 members across the globe and hosts the European Congress of Radiology annually in Vienna.

Editor’s Note: Richard L. Baron, MD, FACR, who is mentioned and pictured in the above article, passed away unexpectedly on May 4, 2017. In a letter to all of the Board of Chancellors and Council Steering Committee, BOC Chair James A Brink, MD, FACR, stated the following:
We have been so fortunate to witness his dedication to the ACR and our profession as an expert physician, educator and renowned leader in radiology and medicine. We are grateful for his service as president of the Society of Abdominal Radiology, president of the Radiological Society of North America, invaluable member of the ACR Board of Chancellors and many other duties of distinction.

Tune in to the Radiology Firing Line

Looking for a new podcast to listen to? Try the Radiology Firing Line (RFL). Hosted by Saurabh Jha, MBBS, and C. Matthew Hawkins, MD, the RFL discusses controversial topics that are important to the imaging specialty. So far in its run, the RFL has covered topics ranging from the future of Watson to women in radiology. Tune in for a debate-style deep dive with experts on a specific topic — all within the less-than-20-minute episode format. You can listen to the RFL on iTunes or visit the JACR blog.

 "Radiologists should be re-associating themselves with their patient base and directing care for patients." — Ella A. Kazerooni, MD, FACR

Less Follow-Up for Emergency Patients When Radiologists See Their Ultrasounds

Emergency department patients whose ultrasound images are reviewed by a radiologist versus a nonradiologist are less likely to get more “downstream imaging,” says a study published in the JACR®. The findings are based on new research by the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute® and suggest that the higher number of follow-up imaging studies ordered may be explained by non-radiologists’ lack of confidence in their interpretations. The study asserts that “making images and interpretations of ultrasound studies interpreted by nonradiologists available for peer review and nonradiologist participation in system-wide quality assurance programs may be helpful” in mitigating the effect on resource use downstream. Lead study author, Bibb Allen Jr., MD, FACR, chair of the Neiman Institute Advisory Board, also noted, “Since emerging federal health reform includes cost and resource use as part of the Medicare Quality Payment Program, emerging patterns of care such as point of care ultrasound should include resource ue in outcomes evaluation.”

Opioid Use Suspected in Bilateral Hippocampal Ischemia Cases Found on MRI

In a recent issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, Barash, Somerville, and DeMaria identified an unusual cluster involving 14 cases of recent, complete bilateral hippocampal ischemia on MRI. All patients presented to hospitals in eastern Massachusetts between 2012 and 2016. There was a strong history of substance use in these patients, and 13 of the 14 had either a history of opioid use or a positive toxicology screen for opioids on presentation. Extrahippocampal involvement was noted in a number of the cases. According to the study authors, the "clustering, relatively young age (19–52 years), and significant substance use associated of these patients warrant broader surveillance.”

"While improvements in cancer detection rates are encouraging, the increased abnormal interpretation rate is somewhat troubling."

— Brian L. Sprague, PhD

What’s in a Mouse Brain?

Researchers trying to develop better ways to image the brain have reported new noninvasive imaging of neurons in the subcortical region of an intact mouse brain that they say goes far beyond previous imaging techniques. Chris Xu, PhD, the Mong Family Foundation Director of Cornell Neurotech,  said in the Cornell Chronicle, “Being able to clearly image the hippocampus could have significant ramifications in the study of a host of brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.” The findings stem from former President Barack Obama’s Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, designed to help researchers “produce a revolutionary new dynamic picture of the brain that, for the first time, shows how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space,” according to the National Institutes of Health website.

Language Matters in Reporting Incidental Findings

A new study that examines how radiologists, referring physicians, and patients interpret radiology reports has determined that the language used in the final description of a low-risk incidental finding impacts how the finding is perceived. Study participants were asked to rate their concerns using a graded scale in relation to hypothetical descriptions of an incidental liver lesion. Many of the terms used in the report resulted in negative perceptions from participants. In fact, only the term “benign cyst” led to no concern among the three participating groups.

"We need to think of imaging as the true entry into the health care system… think about it in that lens… that imaging plays this role in patient outcomes as we’re moving from disease-based care to patient-centered care." — Miriam Sznycer-Taub, MPH

Gaps Exist in Mammography Screening

Breast cancer screening rates differ between racial groups in the United States, with minority women being screened less often than white women. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of data from more than 6 million women in 39 studies and found black and Hispanic women are screened less than white women. The disparities exist among black women who are 40 to 65 years old and 65 and older and among Hispanic women who are 40 to 65 years old. There was no difference in mammography utilization between Asians/Pacific Islanders and whites. “It’s evident that more work needs to be done to ensure that all eligible women have access to this preventive screening tool,” said study author Ahmed T. Ahmed, MB, BCh. 

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