Game Tech Could Help Reduce CT Scan Radiation Levels

A breakthrough in CT (Cat) scan reconstruction technology that utilizes graphic processing (GPU) units could lead to lower amounts of radiation being absorbed by patients undergoing cone beam CT scans.

Previous attempts at (essentially) turning down the radiation emitted during a CT scan (by “reducing the total number of X-ray projections and the mAs level per projection“) resulted in “mathematically incomplete data” that took hours to process. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, however, have developed a CT reconstruction algorithm that processes data in parallel, turning the process into a two-minute task.

Lead Author Xun Jia reported that reconstruction time ranged from 77 to 130 seconds when using an NVIDIA Tesla C1060 GPU card, which he estimated was 100 times faster than similar reconstruction approaches.

"With our technique, we can reconstruct cone beam CT images with only a few projections — 40 in most cases — and lower mAs levels," Jia stated. "This considerably lowered the radiation dose."

Senior Author of the study Steve Jiang added, “CT dose has become a major concern of medical community. For each year’s use of today’s scanning technology, the resulting cancers could cause about 14,500 deaths.

The researchers will discuss their findings at next week’s annual meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) in Philadelphia.

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