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June 10, 2008

BehindTheMedspeak: 2001 in 2008


Look at the photo above.

What do you see?

No, it's not an outtake from Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Rather, it's the latest in medical imaging: 4-D time-lapse ultrasound images of your unborn baby, complete with facial expressions up close and personal, all from the comfort of a cushy sofa or chair where you can watch to your heart's content along with family and friends.

Here's an October 23, 2007 press release from the manufacturer, Royal Philips Electronics.

    Celebrating Pregnancy

    "Celebrating Pregnancy" is a pregnancy scenario for the future. From conception to childbirth and beyond, bringing a child into the world is both a joy and a challenge. While medical advances have made the experience safer than ever, hospital environments have hardly changed. Mothers (and fathers) are often treated like patients with an illness, rather than parents-to-be. Wouldn't it be wonderful if prenatal care and, in particular, fetal ultrasounds were as comfortable as they are exciting? And what if the entire experience was one that could be shared with the entire family, including the experience of that first view of the baby? If a picture is worth a thousand words, a 4D virtual image with audio is priceless.




Kathleen Hom featured this technology in today's Washington Post Health section, as follows.

    The Ultimate in Ultrasound

    A 4-D time-lapse ultrasound image like this may elicit warm emotions as parents distinguish their unborn baby's facial features and fingers for the first time, but the same cannot usually be said about the clinical environment in which such images are created.

    Under the slogan "Celebrating Pregnancy," Royal Philips Electronics is intending to transform these "uncomfortable and impersonal" experiences into "a much more playful, enjoyable format for the parents," says Frank Rettenbacher, a product designer for Philips.

    Last year, Philips researchers began modeling ultrasound visits after a spa-like experience, complete with ambient lighting and new technologies intended to reduce stress. Images are streamed onto a big, bubble-like screen. With large, clearer images, Rettenbacher says, doctors may be able to "diagnose abnormalities a lot earlier than [they can] today."



Don't take my word for it: watch a 4-D ultrasound baby scan here.

June 10, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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