Video and the bigger picture

Sept. 1, 2008
The written word conveys many types of information efficiently. But some stories are better told through pictures, and still others are best told through thousands of consecutive pictures—that is, through video.

The written word conveys many types of information efficiently. But some stories are better told through pictures, and still others are best told through thousands of consecutive pictures—that is, through video. Now that it’s feasible to deliver movies via the BioOptics World website, we are pleased to unveil our new and growing video library.

Our collection of clips, available at (or just click Video at the top our homepage), includes a companion to this issue’s cover story: an animation that effectively explains how metabolomics technology works to evaluate embryo candidates for in vitro fertilization. Check it out for a better understanding, and while you’re there look for clips from some recent trade shows we’ve attended. For instance, you can get an in-depth look at Coherent’s award-winning OPSL-577-3 system, which exploits the wavelength and power scalability of optically pumped semiconductor laser (OPSL) technology to treat macular degeneration.

Less and more

Speaking of imagery, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently recommended that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services contain future costs by requiring authorization for heretofore routine imaging services (see p. 14). The GAO issued its report following an investigation that found Medicare spending for high-tech imaging services had more than doubled between 2000 and 2006. The same day, the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance stated that the report gives Congress an incomplete and inaccurate overview of the situation.

Moving in the opposite direction, though, is Medical Mutual of Ohio, the oldest and largest health insurer in the buckeye state. The company recently updated its capsule endoscopy policy, which now allows physicians to use the PillCam video capsule by Given Imaging (Yoqneam, Israel) as a primary test—without prior use of other procedures—for symptoms indicative of certain diseases. PillCam, once swallowed, takes pictures as it progresses through the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike some other tests, the PillCam procedure is done in a doctor’s office and does not require sedation. Previously, Medical Mutual of Ohio allowed the use of PillCam only after a negative endoscopy.

“We anticipate additional coverage decisions like this in the future,” said Homi Shamir, Given Imaging president and CEO.

The GAO report does not include statistics on the accuracy of diagnosis or course of subsequent treatment with and without use of imaging tools. But according to Markus Lusser of Siemens (quoted in “Molecular imaging aids drug development,” p. 22), doctors using positron-emission tomography (PET) are generally able to make more accurate diagnoses of patient conditions than those using only traditional approaches. Thus, while the up-front cost of imaging tools may be considerable, their use indicates savings down the road.

About the Author

Barbara Gefvert | Editor-in-Chief, BioOptics World (2008-2020)

Barbara G. Gefvert has been a science and technology editor and writer since 1987, and served as editor in chief on multiple publications, including Sensors magazine for nearly a decade.

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