29 Nov 2007

A disappointing day for Erasmus MC today… unlike previous years, not one poster prize or invitation to publish in RadioGraphics this time :-(. Well, at least our posters did not get lost in shipment. Others weren’t so lucky…

p1020962.jpg The poster on the history of evidence based medicine from - where else - Greece received an invitation to publish in RadioGraphics.

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One to keep an eye on, if the paper’s just as interesting as the poster design!

28 Nov 2007

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A unique moment at RSNA today: having a coffee with the head of our department, who is usually too busy to even have a chat in the corridor. Otherwise, I have been trying to recover from my cold… by spending many more hours with my colleagues in the coffee bar!

26 Nov 2007

Refresher course on Radiology Physics today: scarily, no women in the audience (let alone presenting). Learned that FDG PET(-CT) may be useful in neuro-oncology, particularly in distinguishing between radionecrosis and tumour recurrence, the ever-lasting problem in treatment monitoring…

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A very focused visit to the poster exhibit - no time to look at anything other than our own posters which fortunately had survived the trip/upload. Aren’t we proud!?

25 Nov 2007

hotel_room

First day at RSNA today, after kicking off with margheritas the night before in our hotel bar.. well, club really. To my shock and horror my usual House of Blues hotel had not only changed name (now Hotel Sax, which I seem not to be able to pronounce properly), but also management and style. Fortunately, only the lobby had changed for the worse, while the rooms and bar are absolutely magnificent!

I realised this is my fifth time at RSNA and I can now even find my way around McCormick Place (sort of), much to the astonishment of my colleagues, who know I can’t even find my way around our own hospital. Despite the lack of sleep, a cold and the slight after-effect of the margheritas, I really enjoyed the refresher course on ENT trauma: there’s much more to temporal bone injury than just fractures, and… maxillofacial fracture is a recurrent disease - just like minor head injury really :-).

16 Nov 2007

What a lovely day - two of our CHIP papers were published today!

The first is our validation study of clinical guidelines for the use of CT in minor head injury, published in Radiology. Disappointingly, not one of the guidelines we looked at was obviously better than any of the others, all showing a similar balance between sensitivity for neurocranial CT findings and the proportion of patients that needed to be scanned. In other words, if you want all patients with a neurocranial complication to be identified, you will need to scan all minor head injury patients. If the aim is to reduce the number of CT scans for this indication, you are going to miss some patients with a neurocranial complication.

The second is our study showing that patients without a history of loss of consciousness are also at risk of neurocranial complications after minor head injury, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. The traditional definition of minor head injury requires a history of loss of consciousness to be present, while the risk of neurocranial complications after head injury without loss of consciousness is generally assumed to be minimal. Loss of consciousness is therefore often used as a means of triaging patients in emergency departments. Just like everything else in life, things just aren’t that simple.

11 Nov 2007

Interpretation of Murder

The interpretation of Murder (J. Rubenfeld) is a good old murder mystery set in Manhattan of 1909 at the time of Freud’s only visit to the States. An easy and enjoyable read, with a nice twist at the end. For the obsessive amongst us, there’s a whole section on historical (in)correctness at the end, and even a link for posting any mistakes that you may have encountered. As if I care.. Recommended for a rainy afternoon.

28 Oct 2007

Blind_Willow

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (H. Murakami) is a collection of short stories by Japan’s best-known novelist and one of my favourite authors. I’m not a fan of short stories, hating the fact that by the time you’ve got a feeling for the story it’s already finished. So it’s really Murakami’s beautiful writing and magic realism that kept me going. Some stories were vaguely familiar, being the basis for the Wind-up Bird Chronicles apparently, but that didn’t really matter. I just can’t get enough of the strange, surreal world Murakami creates so vividly that it lingers in my mind for days.

So, like every other book by this author: very much recommended, although I do hope his next book will be a normal novel again.

30 Sep 2007

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Last Thursday - at the 12th Dutch Radiology Conference - I was awarded the Lourens Penning Prize for neuroradiological research 2007. Of course, I was very honoured, but best of all: I got to present the results of our CHIP study to a large audience of Dutch radiologists. My very own 15 minutes of fame..

09 Sep 2007

I’ve been working with SPM for some years now, and have decided it’s time for a change. I’m very close to developing some kind of Stockholm syndrome towards SPM, actually defending SPM “features” that obviously just do not make sense.

FSL from the FMRIB group in Oxford is one of the alternatives, also open source, but without the need for an expensive Matlab licence, running nicely on my Mac under X11 and with a course last week in Cardiff (UK).

FSL practicalTBSS

Having been on the SPM course a few years ago, it’s hard not to try to compare the two. Both courses were very well organised, and had an extensive course programme covering fMRI and analysis basics. While the SPM course was very much focused on the analysis software itself (i.e. SPM), the FSL course might just as well have been called general fMRI course, as the FSL tools were presented very much secondary to the general fMRI analysis steps. Although I did think this less self-promoting attitute was very pleasant, I would have liked to hear a bit more about the underlying algorithms implemented in the FSL tools, if only to be able to compare with SPM. The lectures were almost invariably excellent, but maybe a little basic for those with fMRI experience (unlike the SPM course, for which experience with both fMRI and SPM really is required). Much more interesting for the “more experienced” were the twice a day practicals, guiding us through the multitude of quirkily named FSL analysis tools. With many of the easily approachable FSL gurus around, there was ample opportunity to get as much out of this course as we wanted.

Brains

In conclusion: very much recommended, both for the beginner and more experienced fMRI researcher.

And, of course, what place better to have a neuroimaging course than where the local beer’s called “Brains”!

Fully PhotoShop-free pictures on Marion’s photos.

25 Aug 2007

Although none of my friends, colleagues or even co-authors were able to make it to my presentation (with feeble excuses, like “I was still having lunch”) on postconcussion syndrome at ISMRM in Berlin this year, a reporter from Diagnostic Imaging did come to listen! His report can be found in this recently published Diagnostic Imaging Conference Special.