If there ever comes a time in your life the place you want a diagnostic picture taken of your mind, do take a second to thank the gods of know-how and medical progress that you just’re having the process carried out within the 21st century. Why? As a result of, regardless of how uncomfortable you is likely to be whereas getting a CT scan or MRI carried out at this time as a result of cramped scanning tube, it has nothing on the process that preceded it: pneumoencephalography.
Between 1919, when it was launched by American neurosurgeon Walter E. Dandy, and the late 1970s, when it was displaced by the introduction of CT scanners, pneumoencephalography was the main mind imaging strategy of its day—and one sufferers universally hated. So as to create higher high quality X-ray photographs of the mind, the process relied on a lumbar puncture to empty a lot of the cerebrospinal fluid from across the affected person’s mind in order that it may very well be, in flip, changed with oxygen (or generally helium or air). The purpose of the process was to get X-ray “hindering” fluid out of the way in which in order that the picture would come out clearer.
It achieved that purpose, however the process itself was agony. The substitute of the cerebrospinal fluid with air sometimes triggered quick and intense complications in addition to extreme vomiting (each of which frequently lasted nicely past the period of the process itself). On high of that, the affected person can be rotated round to permit the air to displace the remaining cerebrospinal fluid in several areas of the ventricular system and across the mind (like transferring the bubble in a carpentry degree) for every new picture, additional contributing to their discomfort and nausea (if not anesthetized).
The introduction of computed tomography scanning and, later, magnetic resonance imaging, result in the speedy decline of the process. Now, exterior of very uncommon makes use of in analysis, the process is unprecedented and we are able to all, fortunately, get a mind picture carried out with out enduring a horror-movie-like encounter with our physician.
Picture courtesy of Walter E. Dandy.