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Michigan State Managing MRI Images from Africa with Acuo Tech DICOM Services Grid

Medical doctors at Michigan State University have begun using the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) Services Grid from Acuo Technologies to transport and manage magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) results from a hospital in Malawi, Africa in order to monitor the impact of malaria on children.

The project started when a General Electric MRI unit was installed in April 2008 at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi's largest city. Using the combined technology, physicians now can diagnose and study the effect the disease has on an infected child's brain, something that previously could only be done in an autopsy.

The scanner captures images at the hospital and the DICOM Services Grid transmits them to doctors at Michigan State over secure connections. Once the images are received, radiologists evaluate them to provide input to the treating physicians.

The university will also be using the Acuo DICOM Assisted Migration (ADAM) to move data from one archive to another, in this case from its existing proprietary archive to the GE 3.0 Medical Imaging Environment. This new environment employs mirrored EMC CLARiiON CX3 Model 40 storage.

"With these new systems we will be able to serve dozens more patients each day," said Sam Kampondeni, a doctor trained as a radiologist in the Michigan State Department of Radiology in 2007, who has returned to Malawi to treat patients.

"This will help in so many ways," said Terrie Taylor, an osteopathic physician with Michigan State. "We will use it for the research we do. We'll be able to use it for everyday patients that come through the hospital, and it will help to attract and retain more doctors to Malawi." Taylor spends the rainy season--January through June--working at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, treating malaria patients and conducting research on a disease that kills as many as 2 million children in sub-Saharan Africa every year.

Michigan State is looking at expanding the project to other parts of the world.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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