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A better way to detect breast cancer?

Feb 03, 2014   |   by Bridget Barry Caswell   |   WCAX

It's common for women to have magnetic resonance imaging—MRI—if a mammogram shows something suspicious in a breast. But on a machine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, some women are getting two tests in one.

"We're adding on something that's really pretty easy to add right into the exam. We do it simultaneously so it doesn't really add time. There can be some cost because of instrumentation, but it would fit right into what we call the clinical workflow pretty easy," said Keith Paulsen of the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth.

What's different here are the eight cables that Paulsen and other Dartmouth engineers have added to the MRI table, while reworking the design so that more tissue is visible to doctors. The cables are part of an exam technology called near-infrared spectroscopy. They transmit light from laser sources during the MRI. Doctors here believe Dartmouth is the only site in the country testing the combined approach.

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