Readers who have been us since the launch of MDPhysics.com in March 2009 know that we started with just a weblog. Shortly thereafter, we added a listing of funding opportunities, a medical physics job board as well as a calendar of medical physics events. In addition, a physics classifieds section has been in the works for awhile, and now with coding complete, we’re excited to add this new functionality to the site. As always, a direct link to the page can be found in the navigation bar at the top of the site. Classifieds listings, like job listings, are free. All ads expire after 50 days and can be removed at anytime using an access code you receive via email. Read more
Have you ever seen radioactive material labeled with the units Roentgen – Equivalent – Beta rays/second (reb/sec)? A medical physicist recently told me he came across these units on a Strontium-90 source at his new job while he was taking inventory of radioactive materials. This particular source was labeled with its model and serial number, as usual, but its radioactivity (the strength of the source) was given in Roentgen – Equivalent – Beta rays/second (reb/sec) instead of millicuries (mCi). Since the convention is to use miC when recording source strength in the inventory log book, he was wondering how to convert these units to mCi. Since I had not worked with Sr-90, I didn’t know the answer myself. I spoke to a couple of experienced physicists I know, and surprisingly no one had the answer. Like any good scientist, this peaked my curiosity…so I did some research. I am guessing many physicists may not know the answer, so I am sharing the fruits of my labor and the result of my due diligence in this post. This is for those who, like me, are curious and are interested to learn: Read more
At a recent staff meeting, I realized that there are certain “quality” terms that are thrown around often in our line of work. You know which words I’m talking about: quality assurance, quality control, quality improvement, etc…Although we hear and use them often, I would bet few people know their exact definitions. Knowing their precise definitions is important to avoid using them incorrectly in a meeting or during a conversation with the boss, colleague or administrative staff. Being able to use these terms correctly is imperative in demonstrating our depth and level of knowledge concerning the subject matter. Here are the terms and their definitions as supplied by Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology 48 (2003) 1-17: Read more
Imaging Technology News has published a list of the top 10 Radiation Therapy Centers “To Watch” in its July/August 2009 issue. While some radiation therapy centers (such as M.D. Anderson, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Mayo Clinic) are well-known, well-established leaders and probably not soon to be overtaken in rank, this list of radiation therapy facilities proves that some lesser known and/or smaller centers are both thriving and ambitious–providing first-rate patient care with cutting-edge technology. Rankings were made based on “forward-thinking” (i.e. centers that are using advanced techniques and technology in patient care), innovation, operational efficiency, patient service and teamwork as well as reader nominations. The list of 10 radiation therapy centers is not ranked, however, but instead presented in alphabetical order and divided into two groups–with one group being labeled “Honorable Mention.”
Here are the centers that made the list:
- Allegheny General Hospital (Pittsburgh, PA)
- Barnes-Jewish Hospital (St. Louis, MO)
- Booker Cancer Center (Red Bank, NJ)
- Emory Department of Radiation Oncology, The Emory Clinic (Atlanta, GA)
- Wake Forest University Department of Radiation Oncology (Winston-Salem, NC)
- Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center (Detroit, MI)
- Decatur Memorial Hospital (Decatur, IL)
- CentraState Medical Center (Freehold, NJ)
- Lynn Cancer Institute of Boca Raton Community Hospital (Boca Raton, FL)
- Renown Institute for Center (Reno, NV)
For descriptions of each therapy center and why they made the list, check out the full article at http://www.itnonline.net/node/33519/
There are a couple of interesting new comments on our article, Radiation Passport: Radiation exposure iPhone App, published on March 17, 2009. The comments were left by the software developer himself in response to our concerns, and I encourage you to review them and to leave your own comments/thoughts/feedback.
I’ve received several emails regarding the “Post A New Topic” form in the left sidebar of the site.
The form is there so you can write a post and publish to this blog. After completing the form, your content will be published to MDPhysics.com, much like any other post you currently see on the site. True to blog format, posts are in reverse chronological order.
You can “Start a New Topic” to share your thoughts, ask a question or write about anything medical physics-related (news, events, etc). Again, true to blog format, readers can then leave a reply to the post by submitting a comment via the comment link.
Several things to keep in mind when you complete the “Start a New Topic” form:
1-Whatever you put in the “Name” field will appear at the top of your post after “Written by.” Simply write “Anonymous” if you would like to remain unknown (i.e. if you would like to share your thoughts anonymously).
2-The “Email” field is optional. You do not need to complete this field in order to submit a post. It is there to facilitate contact between the reader and poster.
3-The “Post Title” field is your headline/subject line. It will appear as the title of the post (for example, the post title for this article is “How to Use MDPhysics.com”).
4-Finally, write whatever you want to say in the “Post Body” field and hit send. All posts will appear on the site within 12 hr of submission. There is a lag time to ensure posts are not spam.
Lastly, feel free to leave comments whenever you have something to say in response to any article or post you read. Blogs are meant to promote discussion and an exchange of ideas. To leave a comment, simply click the red “Comment” link under the post title. If you are on the post page itself, the comment area is at the very bottom of the post. All comments will appear at the bottom of their respective blog post.
All medical physicists are welcome and encouraged to leave comments and/or to submit new posts.
Tidal Pool, a Canadian software company, has developed and released a radiation exposure app for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. The app is being sold online for $2.99 at the Apple App Store. Before you get all excited like I did, you should know that the app was not developed for medical physicists (or physicians), but rather for the everyday individual interested in keeping track of and calculating their cancer risk due to exposure to ionizing radiation (e.g. medical-related imaging) as well as background radiation due to lifestyle and location. In fact, the purpose of the app as stated by the developer is: “…to educate about the radiation and cancer risks associated with medical imaging exams and procedures that physicians want you to undergo.”
That said, it would be interesting to know how the app calculates actual radiation exposure to the patient for each imaging test as well as the associated cancer risks. For example, just how much does one’s chance of getting cancer go up by getting a CAT scan? Is this app going to deter patients from getting imaging tests for fear of getting cancer?
While this app raises a lot of questions for me, as a medical physicist, it also highlights the absence of any real iPhone apps out there for the medical physics community.
That said, If a decent app comes out that would be of use in medical physics, I might be inclined to go out and buy an iPhone. Until then, though, I’ll stick with my Blackberry, thank you very much.