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From The CriticsReviewer: David E Miller, PhD (University of Colorado Health Sciences Center)
Description: This new edition provides a detailed overview of medical imaging and radiation physics. It is meant as a didactic tool and focuses on the underlying physics and technology employed in state-of-the-art diagnostic radiology. The third edition was published in 1992.
Purpose: The authors' intent is to provide students with a solid foundation in the physics of medical imaging. There are few books with this goal that are also technologically current, making the fourth edition of this text particularly welcome. The first edition was originally compiled from lectures in medical radiation physics. Accordingly, this textbook provides ample theoretical explanations, illustrations, examples, and homework problems for students. Answers to selected problems appear at the end of the book. Each chapter concludes with a summary highlighting key points to remember. The presentation of the material is clear, easy to follow, and well suited to a didactic study of medical physics.
Audience: As stated in the preface, the authors appear to be targeting students in the process of becoming physicians, physicists, engineers, and technologists. In order to satisfy the needs of such a diverse group, the text avoids a rigorous mathematical approach to much of the material. However, there is sufficient technical detail that a background in calculus is useful. The authors provide a short section in the appendix for a review of mathematical principles and Fourier transforms. Upper level undergraduates, graduate students, and residents interested in the physics of medical imaging should find the text appropriate. Both authors are medical physicists and credible authorities on the subjects discussed.
Features: The authors begin with a solid description of basic atomic and radiation physics, which is essential in understanding the basis of many imaging devices. From there they discuss the mechanisms of x-ray imaging, nuclear medicine, CT, fluoro, MR, and PET. The text also takes time to discuss probability and statistics, quality control and routine testing, radiation detection and measurement, radiation biology, and safety aspects. Occasionally there are sections on more advanced imaging methods such as functional imaging in MR. However the descriptions tend to be fairly brief. The section on PACS and information systems is oddly placed in the Future Developments chapter and contains rather cursory information. Also, the attempt to steer clear of mathematical complexity has made some sections appear brushed over, as in the case of reconstruction algorithms. The figures and illustrations are helpful in clarifying difficult concepts. The many asides found in the margin sections contain useful information and anecdotes but may make a straight reading of the text more difficult.
Assessment: This book meets its goal of providing a foundation of knowledge in medical imaging physics. It provides clear descriptions of difficult concepts while keeping mathematics to a minimum. The examples and problems for students are thought provoking and help solidify an understanding of the material. Readers may want to build upon this foundation by examining books that are specific to an imaging modality or more mathematically rigorous. Though it does not provide sample problems, readers may wish to review Bushberg's The Essential Physics of Medical Imaging, 2nd Edition (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2002), which is a more detailed work targeted at residents and students in medical physics. It contains larger, more descriptive figures and tables, and is a valuable handbook.