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  • My Turn

    June 01, 2014

    Our History Makes Medicine’s Headlines

    “The future ain’t what it used to be.”

    The legendary baseball player and manager Yogi Berra, in his characteristic way of turning a phrase, nailed it. As we get ready to celebrate the 100th anniversary of RSNA, the only thing we can predict about the next hundred years is that everything will change. The historic medical advances in the past century are in many ways the story of radiology. And our future, in that regard, looks to be no different.

    Whenever surveys are conducted asking people to rank the medical advances they think have changed the world, the discovery of the X-ray and CT/MR imaging are usually near the top of the list. It’s no surprise that the evolution of “modern medicine” is closely linked to improvements in diagnosis, with imaging playing a starring role at many key turning points.

    The term “diagnostic imaging” was coined to distinguish what we do from laboratory medicine—but that has changed, because now we’re imaging molecules. The sensitivity of testing for serum biomarkers has increased by orders of magnitude. As we enter the era of “precision medicine,” in which therapies are tailored to individuals, radiology continues to remain vital—by adding “radiogenomics” and “theranostics” to the noninvasive, nondestructive armamentarium of advanced medical instruments.

    And while we are in heady times indeed, the accomplishments of the pioneers of the past cannot be understated. Their iconic names and faces should not, as old film radiographs, be stored away in dusty warehouses, whose only lasting value is their silver content. To paraphrase U.S. President John F. Kennedy, things didn’t just happen; we are where we are today as the result of men and women who dared to ask “why not?” and made things happen.

    So, on the eve of RSNA’s centennial, we pause to reflect on an illustrious hundred years and, as Kennedy so aptly put it, “celebrate the past to awaken the future.”

    Read “Preserving, Celebrating Radiology’s Revolutionary Road,” here.

    Editor’s Note

    Talk to Us!

    Did you know that RSNA now invites readers to leave comments at the end of RSNA News articles posted online? Our stories tell you what we know and think about the latest in radiology and RSNA programs and services; we want to know what you think, too.

    Please visit our stories online to make observations, ask questions, answer other readers’ questions and/or simply let us know what you think of the topics we’re selecting for RSNA News. We value your opinion.

    David M. Hovsepian, M.D.
    David M. Hovsepian, M.D., is the editor of RSNA News. He is a professor of radiology in the Department of Radiology at Stanford University in California. He also serves on the RSNA Public Information Committee and the Public Information Advisors Network.
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