NASA Might Help Examine Your Breasts


The software NASA scientists use to determine the depths of lakes from space could be used to study women's breasts.

Bartron Medical Imaging Inc., which has a lab in New Haven, recently received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to go to market with its MED-SEG system, a program to help doctors analyze mammograms, ultrasounds, digital x-rays and other medical imaging tests.

"The use of this computer-based technology could minimize human error when evaluating radiologic films and might allow for earlier detection of abnormalities within the tissues being imaged," Dr. Thomas Rutherford, director of gynecologic oncology at Yale University in New Haven, said in a news release.

The FDA has approved the system for trained professionals to process images, but it's not allowed for use during primary diagnosis.

Dr. Molly Brewer, a professor with the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, would like to do clinical trials with the system. 

"One problem with mammograms is, they often give a false negative for detecting abnormalities in women's breasts," Brewer said.  "Women who either have high density or a strong family history of breast cancer are often sent for MRIs, which are costly, very uncomfortable and have a high false positive rate resulting in many unnecessary biopsies." 

So far, Bartron has installed the system at the University of Connecticut Health Center and might install evaluation systems at Yale-New Haven Medical Center and two other facilities.

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