Hopkins using computers in medicine

October 22, 1992|By Liz Bowie | Liz Bowie,Staff Writer

On the shaved head of a patient with a brain tumor, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins University draws the outline of a tumor in red ink with a wand. The magic is in the wand, which helps locate the tumor on a three-dimensional image that the surgeon watches on a screen.

And that isn't the only computer technology being used at the school. Doctors also can use computers to help create an image of a patient's beating heart that eloquently portrays the struggles of an ailing heart.

In recent months, Hopkins has put together a center to find ways medicine can harness new computer technology.

Various Hopkins departments are already designing new treatments using computer imaging, but there has been no coordination between the departments and no organized attempt by the university to determine what new technology would be useful in medicine.

Now, by coordinating the expertise of disparate departments on Hopkins' two campuses, the new Center for Biomedical Visualization will attempt to expand the use of computer imaging into patient care.

The center, at Hopkins' School of Medicine, uses technology provided by companies such as Silicon Graphics in Mountain View, Calif., which has donated computer workstations to the center.

The company also has agreed to give Hopkins its "latest and greatest" technology as it becomes available, says Carey Kriz, executive director of the center.

Faculty members from the medical school and Hopkins' Homewood campus will work with the computer technology to come up with ways it can be used in treating patients.

Other companies, including Cisco Systems of Menlo Park, Calif., and Ungermann-Bass Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., also have agreed to collaborate with Hopkins.

The benefit for the companies, Mr. Kriz says, is that the work of Hopkins researchers might help find new markets for their products.

Mr. Kriz says he wants to help the Hopkins researchers "invent the future of medicine."

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