Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fantastic Voyage is showing in New South Wales

Dr. John McGhee is a researcher and senior lecturer based at UNSW Art & Design. Here you see him taking a virtual voyage through an artery, twisting and turning as he goes through to look for plaque that has been created and watching pieces break off like ice calves from a glacier.

John's passion is to take real data generated from patients and create a three-dimensional dynamic representation that can be viewed by the patients and their families.  He brings to this the kind of techniques that are used in computerized gaming, but his purpose is to allow patients to examine inside of their own body, created from their own radiological images.  This visualization will help them better understand what is happening in their bodies.

The current experiments involve stroke patients.  With the patient's neurologist, John is able to help instruct the patient and family as to the nature of their disease--much more so so than is possible  by viewing the images as CT or MRI slices on the wall. He hoping this visualization "will be a normal thing to request when you go to get feedback on your scan."

I view this technique as an opportunity not only for a patient's understanding, but also for a closer partnership with the doctor.  The virtual reality view is such that he doctor and patient can jointly examine the patient's blood vessels, discussing together what they see and the diagnositic and therapuetic implications.

Here's a video.

There are possible applications beyond strokes, including GI and other imaging.  John is looking for collaborators from other clinical settings around the world, and he is also searching for funding to expand the scope of  his research.

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