ct scan

I was in hospital today for a CT scan

I hate those scans. I’ve had four in 5 years. The first one, the av canula was not inserted correctly to my vein and when they started pumping that dye in it was agony….had an ice pack on for hours, I’ve been nervous about CT scans ever since. I’ve had all the scans , CT ,CAT ,MRI, PET angiograms and x-rays.. but CT scans are the most uncomfortable

So I was a bit anxious today. The canula was a bit sore going in as I aint got many veins left with all the bloods and drips and scans I’ve had in recent years.

Nevertheless I’m through it, now I have to wait for my appointment to get my op. The op is less anxious than the CT scan, the OP is a piece of cake compared to the big giant spinning robot polo mint and it’s lethal injection set up.

trying to get ahold of my doctor so he can tell me my blood test results shouldnt be this hard. their office didnt open till 9 today, but i have to leave for work soon and they’ll be closed by the time im off, and then theyre closed for the weekend thats 3 more days of not knowing if they found something (beause apparently even if its something like cancer they wont call YOU, you have to call and follow up with THEM which seems totally absurd to me considering how difficult it is to get ahold of them). they havent even called me to SCHEDULE the CT scan yet its been a week now and the pain is so hard to deal with as time goes on. I still have work for the next 7 days and Im stressing out about this. Plus getting my car repaired from the minor accident i was in last week, as well as dealing with insurance stuff from the woman who rear-ended me. Today is also my mother’s death anniversary and im just not in a great headspace, so Thank you everyone for the support, sorry that i dont reply to everyone wishing me well. Im trying my hardest to keep going right now it just a combination of intense physical pain with the rough bought of depression and stress swinging in thats making things a bit difficult atm.

thank you tho!


Home Sweet Home

Usually plastic and the environment do not go hand in hand, but artist Aki Inomata uses plastic to create an environment for her little pet hermit crabs in “Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs?” (2009, 2010-2013).

With the help of CT scanning to render a three-dimensional model of an empty shell, Inomata creates her base and then builds houses atop these shell renderings. These architectural wonders mimic the style of popular dwellings, from Tokyo house-style to Paris apartments. 

With these plastic hermit crab habitats, Inomata wanted to explore not only the hermit crab’s adaptability to new surroundings, but how we adapt as well. Immigration, relocation, even acquiring a new identity or nationality is more or less the human version of growing out of a shell, and finding a new one to call ‘home’.

Not only is this series an amazing symbolic representation of our will to adapt, but also a fun way to learn more about the life and physiology of the hermit crab, as the dwellings are completely see-through. Have you ever wondered what a hermit crab’s body looks like inside its shell?

A video of both the hermit crabs in action and how the artist came about designing the shells can be found here.

-Anna Paluch


First 3-D Printed Ribcage Successfully Implanted

It’s a story Wolverine would appreciate. A 54-year-old Spanish man suffering from a cancer of the chest wall has received a 3-D-printed implant made of titanium alloy to replace his sternum and a section of his ribcage. 

The patient’s surgical team at Salamanca University Hospital in Spain scanned his chest using high-resolution CT. From that they were able to develop a precise plan to remove the chest wall sarcoma and the portion of bone that it had invaded. The question was what they would replace it with. Learn more and see a video below.

Keep reading

The Curious Case of the Woman with No Cerebellum

Not sure how many of you have read about this by now, but it is such an amazing finding I decided to write about it (even though I retweeted this yesterday). 

This study is a clinical case report of a living patient with cerebellar   agenesis, an extremely rare condition characterized by the absence of the cerebellum. The cause is currently unknown, there are limited reported cases of complete cerebellar  agenesis, and most of what we know about the condition comes from autopsy reports instead of living patients. Moreover, the condition is difficult to study because most individuals with complete primary cerebellar agenesis are infants or children with severe mental impairment, epilepsy, hydrocephaly and other gross lesions of the CNS. The fact that this woman is alive and has a somewhat “normal” life is ground-breaking and presents a unique opportunity to study the condition.

The patient described in the study is 24 years old. She has mild mental impairment and moderate motor deficits. For example, she is unable to walk steadily and commonly experiences dizziness/nausea. She also has speech problems and cannot run or jump. However, she has no history of neurological disorders and even gave birth without any complications. 

Importantly, as shown above, CT  and MRI scans revealed no presence of recognizable cerebellar structures. Just look at that dark sport towards the back of the brain! In addition to these findings, magnetic resonance angiography also demonstrated vascular characteristics of this patient consistent with complete cerebellar agenesis- meaning that the arteries that normally supply this area were also absent bilaterally. How crazy is that? Futhermore, diffusion tensor imaging  indicated a complete lack of the efferent and afferent limbs of the cerebellum. 

Given that the cerebellum is responsible for both motor and non-motor functions, these results are pretty amazing. How can the brain compensate for such a heavy blow to its architecture and connectivity? According to the authors of the study: 

This surprising phenomenon supports the concept of extracerebellar motor system plasticity, especially cerebellum loss, occurring early in life. We conclude that the cerebellum is necessary for normal motor, language functional and mental development even in the presence of the functional compensation phenomenon.


Yu, F., Jiang, Q., Sun, X., and Zhang, R. (2014). A new case of complete primary cerebellar a genesis: clinical and imaging findings in a living patient. Brain. doi: 10.1093/brain/awu239

CT scan of a severe spinal fracture that occurred after the individual was involved in a high velocity collision and was ejected from their vehicle. Because of the level of this specific fracture there was minimal cord damage at the site, however this individual also suffered a fracture at the level of their cervical spine which resulted in paralysis.


Three-dimensional scans of two mummified newborn woolly mammoths recovered from the Siberian Arctic are revealing previously inaccessible details about the early development of prehistoric proboscideans. The research, conducted in part by American Museum of Natural History Richard Gilder Graduate School student Zachary T. Calamari, also suggest that both animals died from suffocation after inhaling mud. The findings were published July 8 in a special issue of the Journal of Paleontology.

“These two exquisitely preserved baby mammoths are like two snapshots in time,” said Calamari, who began investigating mammoths as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan working with paleontologist Daniel Fisher. “We can use them to understand how factors like location and age influenced the way mammoths grew into the huge adults that captivate us today.” 

Learn more. 


3D Load-Bearing CT Scans in the Management of Foot Problems.

As explained by Mr. Andy Goldberg, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon in the video above, 2D radiographs have traditionally been the modality of choice for assessing foot injuries. The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in conjunction with the Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculo-Skeletal Sciences at University College Londona are using a new load-bearing 3D scanning system to manage shoe-related issues. 

With the new scanning technology, perhaps we can finally make better shoes of all kinds that conform to the needs of our feet and not the other way around.

‘Virtual autopsies’ using CT and MRI scans joining traditional dissection methods for post mortems

The scene plays out in autopsy rooms around the world, not to mention on any number of TV crime dramas: a scalpel-wielding pathologist calmly dissects a lifeless body for clues to an untimely death.

The chest and abdominal cavities are pried open, organs removed and the brain eased out through a sawn-off skull in a medical tradition as ancient as the Pharaohs.

It is a tradition, though, facing very modern competition. Led partly by a prominent Canadian pathologist, some specialists are pushing to augment, or on occasion even replace, those conventional post mortems with “virtual autopsies” that use CT and MRI scans to probe bloodlessly inside cadavers.

Ontario recently became the first jurisdiction in Canada to begin using imaging machines designed to diagnose the living as a tool to uncover the medical secrets of the dead. (Photo: Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Zurich)

Meet the Extremely Rare Pocket Shark

Museum scientists are getting an up-close look at an extremely rare—and extremely small—shark by taking high-resolution, three-dimensional x-ray scans.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers were trawling in the Gulf of Mexico for a sperm whale feeding study in 2010 when they inadvertently pulled up a tiny, odd-looking shark with a bulbous head and rows of sharp teeth. NOAA researchers subsequently identified the creature as the rare pocket shark (Mollisquama sp.). The specimen is only the second ever collected, 36 years after the first one was found off the coast of Chile.

Named for two small openings above its pectoral fins, the pocket shark is still mostly a mystery, as is the purpose its pockets serve. But instead of dissecting this rare 5.5-inch-long specimen, scientists have turned to non-destructive x-ray techniques: computed tomography (CT) scanning in the Museum’s Microscopy and Imaging Facility and at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in France.

“The level of detail we can achieve through x-ray imaging is just incredible,” says John Maisey, a curator in the Museum’s Division of Paleontology who has been working with NOAA researchers and Museum Axelrod Postdoctoral Fellow John Denton to scan the specimen. “It allows you to look at these priceless specimens in a way you couldn’t have 10 or 15 years earlier.”

The CT scans proved especially valuable for counting the vertebrae of the pocket shark, the smallest of which were too small to be picked up using standard x-ray imaging, and for counting the teeth. Many of the specimen’s teeth were missing, but by rotating the image of the jaw and examining its inner surface, researchers were able to count the tiny new teeth coming up to take their place.

The species appears to be closely related to cookie cutter sharks, which feed by taking bites out of the skin of larger animals. And the anatomy of the pocket shark’s jaws and teeth indicate that it inhabits a similar ecological niche. 

As for the shark’s mysterious pockets, one working hypothesis is that that they might emit a bioluminescent fluid to either attract mates or to confuse predators. Maisey and Denton are now poring over the extremely high-resolution scans taken at ESRF with Mark Grace, the biologist with NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center who discovered the specimen, to learn more about their anatomy.  

But anything gleaned from the scans will likely remain hypothetical until scientists can observe a pocket shark in action.

“I would love to see a pocket shark alive in its environment,” Grace says. “But the CT scans are the next best thing.”

This story was originally published on the Museum blog.