UBC Event: Medical Physics

Date: January 20, 10am – 12pm
Location: TRIUMF @UBC, 4004 Wesbrook Mall,Vancouver, BC, V6T 2A3


Medical Physics – Magnetic Resonance Imaging: a window into the human bodyAlex Mackay

Medical Physics – From Antimatter to Disease Prediction: How basic physics impacts our health careTom Ruth


January 20, 2007
10am – 11pm
Medical Physics – Magnetic Resonance Imaging: a window into the human bodyAlex Mackay
Abstract: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is used to make high contrast images of the human body. MRI is used for diagnosis of many medical anbormalities, management of patient care and for research into mechanisms of human disease. Magnetic resonance can do much more than just make images- it can measure concentrations of important biochemicals, it can trace the paths followed by nerve tracts in the brain and it can show what parts of brain are used in complex cognitive processes. This talk will introduce the technique of MRI, describe how MRI works and show lots of images and other data acquired by MRI.
January 20, 2007
11am – 12pm
Medical Physics – From Antimatter to Disease Prediction: How basic physics impacts our health careTom Ruth
Abstract: Positrons are the antimatter form of electrons and are emitted by isotopic form of the very elements that make up our bodies. By making use of the tools of Nuclear and Particle Physics and throwing in some chemistry scientists at TRIUMF and UBC (and elsewhere) are finding ways to unravel the causes and treatment of diseases. This presentation will explore the role of positron emission tomography (PET) plays in research on Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

For those that were not able to attend these events, here’s some interesting information:

MRI technology is:

  • Used to detect water content changes, lesions, tumors, flowing blood, beating heart, tissue metabolites, microscopic structures and more.
  • Advancing very rapidly (MR scanner becomes obsolete after 5 years)
  • Used by an interdisciplinary team of professionals: physicists, chemists, engineers, mathematicians, biologists, radiology, neurologists, cardiologists, pathologists, psychiatrists, psychologists
  • Expensive (the MR scanner at UBC costs $400 / hour to operate)

The second talk was about “probing the human body without the knife”.

PET technology:

  • Works by detecting a short-lived radioactive tracer isotope, which decays by emitting a positron, which also has been chemically incorporated into a metabolically active molecule (such as fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)), is injected into the living subject (usually into blood circulation). After a waiting period of about an hour, the rpatient is placed in the imaging scanner.
  • Used to understand chemicals in the human body, such as dopamine in the brain. This is useful in Parkinson’s disease research

Interesting info:

  • There is an underground pipeline between UBC Hospital and TRIUMF.
  • BC Cancer Agency has acquired a PET/CT scanner for diagnostic purposes. http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/PPI/PET/faqs.htm
  • TRIUMF is one of three subatomic research facilities in the world that specialize in producing extremely intense beams of particles. The heart of the facility is the world’s biggest cyclotron, which is used to accelerate 1000 trillion particles each second!

For more information, visit the TRIUMF website.

And finally, here’s a hot topic that seems to come back in almost all talks I’ve been to recently, as the future of medicine:

Personalized medicine: the use of detailed information about a patient’s genotype or level of gene expression and a patient’s clinical data in order to select a medication, therapy or preventative measure that is particularly suited to that patient at the time of administration .

Additional links:


One Response to UBC Event: Medical Physics

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    UBC Event: Medical Physics | MedFusion @ UBC

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