Imaging studies allow radiologists to gain special and intimate knowledge about the individual undergoing the scan. The experience can be like peering into a crystal ball to see into a patient's past—or potential future.
Human imaging provides a completely different way of looking at people. Whether discovering trauma or tumor, infection or foreign body, radiology removes our superficial distinctions and peers deeper within, studying people from a unique perspective.
Radiologist Cullen Ruff explores the history of medical imaging, from the discovery of X-rays that revolutionized medicine, to newer modalities such as nuclear medicine, computed tomography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging.
Ruff shows examples of how various imaging studies reveal disease. Some cases offer an opportunity to learn not only about patients’ health, but also their lives through the stories their pictures tell. Insights gained through the lens of human imaging reflect a recognition of humanity’s intricacy, complexity, adaptive resilience, and ultimate fragility.
Ruff is an associate professor of medical education at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.
His book Looking Within: Understanding Ourselves through Human Imaging (Torchflame Books) is available for purchase.
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