The provenance of the term “Aunt Minnie” can be traced back to a radiologist called Ben Felson who, in the 1940s, referred to a case “with radiological findings so specific and compelling that no realistic differential diagnosis exists.” So, if an image looks like your Aunt Minnie then it must indeed be your Aunt Minnie! The expression was the inspiration for a company – AuntMinnie.com – that has served the medical imaging community since 1999. In this era of COVID-19, with lockdowns and limited travel, Brian Casey, editor-in-chief of AuntMinnie.com, has taken the initiative to organise a virtual conference.
The first day of this conference – for which there were no registration fees – took place yesterday, beginning at 11:00 am, Eastern Standard Time in the Unites States. Sign-up was straightforward, requiring just an e-mail address, and thereafter an attendee could join others entering the virtual exhibition hall and auditorium (see above right). The lectures were delivered via the Zoom platform, which displayed both the high-resolution slides and a small window showing the speaker. The first four presentations all focused on artificial intelligence and its clinical impact, bringing together leaders from academia and industry.
The undoubted highlight of the day’s presentations was delivered by Dr Yale Tung Chen, an emergency care physician at University Hospital La Paz in Madrid. In early March, Chen became infected with COVID-19 while treating patients and decided to share his experience with the world. Using point-of-care ultrasound on himself (seen left), he employed his Twitter feed to provide a day-to-day account of his health status. On day 1, he wrote: “Sore throat, headache (strong!), dry cough but no shortness of breath. No lung abnormalities.”
As his disease progressed, however, the ultrasound images revealed marked changes in his lungs, especially the pleural lining. Fortunately for Chen, he recovered fully from COVID-19 after about three weeks, and his experience enabled him to deliver a presentation with unusual insight. He not only showed ultrasound images of his own lungs, but of his wife and another family member who were also infected with the virus. Thankfully, they too recovered.
The final two presentations of AuntMinnie.com’s virtual conference will be delivered later today and will focus on breast imaging. Alyssa Watanabe and Cody Mayo are slated to speak about the economic impact of artificial intelligence on mammography, while Emily Conant will take a look at how new technologies, such as digital breast tomosynthesis and abbreviated MRI, are dramatically changing the breast imaging landscape. Aunt Minnie can indeed be proud of her legacy!