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The Beatles & CTPlay me any Beatles song and I just think of a certain time in my life…

Their music has definitely influenced a whole generation — and even generations beyond — in a way few people realize.

Thatís true because Beatlemania had a hand in one of the greatest medical inventions \— the CT or CAT scanner, which stands for computerized axial tomography. Itís among todayís best diagnostic imaging tools.

Hereís the connection. Back in 1962, The Beatles signed with Electric & Music Industries, EMI. The Beatles were so successful that EMI was able to fund other divisions of the company, in particular the work of engineer Godfrey Hounsfield.

Hounsfield first conceived of the Idea of the CT when he wondered if he could take an image of an object inside a box by using multiple x–rays. He was successful, and in 1972 made the first commercially available CT scanner that took only images of the brain.

A few years later, Hounsfield developed a full body CT that won him the Nobel Prize in Medicine. The CT scan allows doctors to look inside the human body without using invasive procedures, such as surgery.

CT uses the same X–rays as traditional films except it uses multiple X–rays to create a three dimensional image.

The result is a cross sectional view of the body, which is like cutting a loaf of bread into slices. Now imagine a raisin in the middle of the loaf, just like a lesion would be inside a human body. A doctor can turn the images and locate exactly which slice of the body has that lesion.

Today millions of CT scans are performed every year. Doctors everywhere have used it to diagnose patients and save lives.

Who knew all those Beatles love songs did more than warm my heart?

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For more information…

The Beatles Take America
Good historical account of the Beatles coming to and impact in America.
Spizer, B. (2004). American History, 39(1), 44-54.

The EMI scanner
An early description of the CT scanner from G.N. Hounsfield from the Proceeding of the Royal Society publication. Dr. Hounsfield received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1979 for this work.
For more information…

Informative website from radiologyinfo.org about the CT procedure and its medical use. The site also shows CT images and an explanation of how they are viewed.For more information…


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