In 1979, the Journal of Biomedical Engineering was launched and fifteen years later, in 1994, the journal was renamed Medical Engineering & Physics (MEP). Owned by the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, and published by Elsevier, MEP has maintained a high standard – with a rejection rate of 70% – and has a global reach, with authors coming from all corners of the world. Earlier this week, the 40th anniversary issue appeared, with the editor, Richard Black of Scotland, inviting leading authors to contribute papers that highlight recent advances and speculate on future directions for the field.
Rory Cooper of Pittsburgh presented an overview of rehabilitation engineering, highlighting the potential to transform the lives of people with disabilities. Cheng-Kung Cheng of Beijing addressed the challenging problem of testing orthopaedic implants before their use in patients, while Frederic Picard of Glasgow considered the benefits of custom implant design and image-guided surgery. Rod Hose from Sheffield reviewed the role of cardiovascular models in personalized medicine, Amit Gefen of Tel Aviv showed how medical engineering has changed our understanding of chronic wounds, while Leandro Pecchia of Warwick focused on healthcare technology assessment.
Finally, CapeRay’s CEO Kit Vaughan contributed a paper entitled “Novel imaging approaches to screen for breast cancer: Recent advances and future prospects,” that can be downloaded by clicking here. Over the past 40 years, the application of mammography – an X-ray of the breast – to screen healthy women has been a successful strategy to reduce breast cancer mortality. Vaughan conducted an online literature search and included ten imaging modalities for review.
He explained: “In addition to full-field digital mammography (FFDM), a further nine modalities were identified: digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT); breast computed tomography (BCT); automated breast ultrasound (ABUS); fusion of FFDM and ABUS; fusion of DBT and ABUS; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); optical imaging; radio-wave imaging; and tactile sensor imaging.” Among the parameters he used to assess each modality were diagnostic success, especially in dense breasts, capital cost of the equipment, and the time to acquire the images.
Vaughan concluded: “DBT is rapidly replacing FFDM although it still misses invasive cancers in dense tissue. The fusion of ABUS, either with FFDM or DBT, will lead to sensitivity and specificity approaching 100%. The fusion of opto-acoustic imaging with ultrasound holds considerable promise for the future.” Engineering and physics have made important contributions to the delivery of healthcare for the benefit patients over the past four decades, and MEP is well placed to record the breakthroughs during the next 40 years.