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Waves, particles and medicine in Houston

July 10, 2008 -- Later this month, thousands of scientists and health professionals from the field of medical physics will meet at the 50th meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) in Houston, Texas. There, from July 27 to July 31, they will present the latest technologies for imaging and treating diseases and discuss the ethical and regulatory issues facing the field today.

Whether X-rays for CT scans, sound waves for ultrasound, magnetic fields for MRI or antimatter for PET scans, the "stuff" of physics has revolutionized the practice of medicine, and modern medical physics helps to alleviate suffering and ensure the safety of millions of people in the United States each year.

Almost all the hospitals in the United States today benefit from the work of medical physicists. They help diagnose illness by designing and implementing new and better ways of imaging the human body. They create treatment strategies for fight cancer and other diseases. They take measures for reducing the risk to people undergoing these treatments.

AAPM is the largest association of medical physicists in the world. It is composed of both scientists who develop cutting-edge technologies in the physics laboratory and board-certified health professionals who use these technologies in the clinic.

The talks at AAPM meetings cover some of the most interesting topics in medicine. Some look at new ways of imaging the human body. Others focus on treating cancerous tumors and other conditions with X rays, particles from accelerators, and other emissions. Even others describe how to tailor therapy to the specific needs of people undergoing treatment -- how to shape emissions to conform to the shape of a tumor, how to treat children rather than adults, or how to adjust treatment as tumors shrink and move as the treatment proceeds.

Journalists are invited to cover the AAPM meeting remotely or in person. In the coming weeks, additional news releases will detail specific meeting highlights. All news releases will be hosted on the AAPM website (see link below).


Contact: Jason Bardi
American Institute of Physics

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