Studying the utility and feasibility of an interactive educational software package on the principles of medical imaging for biomedical engineering, medical physics, and radiological technology students is proposed. Medical imaging includes all the main clinical modalities: MRI, CT, plain-film, nuclear medicine, PET, and ultrasound. Basic medical, physical, and chemical principles of each imaging modality will be presented to the student in a dynamic, simple, and graphical manner. The student will be able to acquire and manipulate simulated medical images. A few key parameters for each modality will be adjustable by the student, while he or she can observe the impact of such parameter choices on real images. Important medical image characteristics, like contrast, signal-to-noise ratio, and spatial resolution will vary based on the student's choice of the imaging parameters. The impact of the student's selection of the imaging parameters and modality on the diagnosis of a few common diseases will he reviewed. A preliminary version of the software package will be available for the student evaluations by the end of phase I. Expanding the user groups to include medical students, radiology residents, high school students, and the general public will be studied in phase II.
Medical imaging education software can be used for the training of the students in medical physics, biomedical engineering, and radiological technology programs. Medical imaging plays a key role in the delivery of medical care, and it can be taught in an interactive, graphical, and clinically oriented fashion. Educational software is gradually playing an important role in the training of our future scientists, engineers, and medical professionals. Although there are many educational software products, none is available in medical imaging in the manner suggested in this proposal. This medical education software can be distributed to medical, engineering, and technical colleges. Interactivity, graphical nature, and the relationship between this software and the scientific, medical, and clinical training of the medical imaging and radiological technology students can attract many educators.