When Hounsfield returned to work after that vacation, he proposed a project to his supervisor to develop a machine that could create 3D images of the brain. The machine will shoot narrow beams of X-rays through the person’s head, and a computer will use the resulting data to build a series of cross-sections that together represent the brain in a 3D image.
Hounsfield worked with neuroradiologists to build the device, and in 1971 they produced the first computed tomography scan of a human brain. CT scans are now used to locate blood clots, tumors, and bone fractures.
For his invention, Hounsfield He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1979 in physiology or medicine.
Hounsfield Scanner was commemorated with IEEE Milestone During a ceremony on October 26 at the EMI Old Vinyl Factory, in Hayes, England, where the technology was developed. IEEE Department of the United Kingdom and Ireland Sponsored nomination.
Selling Beatles albums and developing medical equipment
After the X-ray machine was invented in 1896, it quickly became standard equipment in hospitals. The machines produce great images of bones because their dense structures absorb X-rays well. The absorption pattern makes the bone appear white on the film. But soft-tissue organs such as the brain appeared hazy because radiation passed through them.
While Hounsfield served with Royal Air ForceLearn the basics of electronics and radar. In 1951 he joined EMI, developing radar and guided weapon systems. His interest in computers grew, and in 1958 he helped design a computer Amedec 1100—the first commercially available computer entirely made in Britain.
After this project, Hounsfield’s supervisor warned him that his job would be in danger if he didn’t come up with another good idea.
Hounsfield reflected back on the conversation with the doctor about the limitations of X-ray images, and then proposed the project that would become the CT scanner.
EMI did not develop or manufacture medical equipment and was not interested in going into this line of business, but Hounsfield’s supervisor believed in his idea and approved of it. The company was unable to fully fund the project, so Hounsfield applied for and received a grant of about $40,000 – about $300,000 in 2022 figures – from the British Department of Health and Social Care.
A computed tomography (CT) scanner of bovine and human brains
Hounsfield has worked with neuroradiologists James Ambrose and Louis Creel to build the first prototype. It was small enough to sit on top of a table. They tested the machine on piglets, and after successfully producing images of their brains, the three men built a full-size scanner.
The CT scanner was first tested on human brains preserved in formalin. But the brains weren’t perfect because the chemical hardened their tissue so badly that it no longer resembled normal brain matter, as described in article about the scanner inNorthern California Jewish News. Because the scanner was intended for use on live patients, Hounsfield and his team looked for a human-like brain.
They have purchased fresh cow brains, but they cannot be used because an electric shock is used to electrocute the animals before they are slaughtered. This action caused the brain to fill with blood, and the fluid obstructed the radiologist’s view of the structure of the organ.
Ambrose, who was part Jewish, suggested using kosher cow brains because instead of being stunned, the animals had their jugular incision. This process drained the blood away from the skull – enabling a CT scan of the brain.
After several successful tests, the machine was ready for human trials. The scanner was installed in 1971 at Atkinson Morley Hospital, in London, where Ambrose worked. The first patient was a woman who showed signs of a brain tumor.
She lay on a table while x-rays of her skull were taken from one site above her head. The beams passed through her and hit a crystal detector located in the gantry below her head. The X-ray source and detector each moved around in 1-degree increments until they had turned 180 degrees, with each device ending at the starting point of the other.
This allowed the scanner to image the brain in individual layers. Hounsfield described it as putting the brain “by chopping the bacon,” according to article About the scanner on Mid Siemens Museum website.
The detector recorded the X-ray signals and sent the data to a computer. The computer built an image of the brain using the physicist Alan MacLeod CormackAlgebraic reconstruction technique. The technique constructs an image by filling in an array, each square of which corresponds to a part of the scanned member, according to Nobel press release about the scanner. Because the crystal detector was 100 times more sensitive than X-ray film, the density resolution was much higher, making the resulting image much clearer. Cormack shared the 1979 Nobel Prize with Hounsfield.
The scan took 30 minutes and the computerized construction of the image took another two hours. The image showed a plum-sized cystic mass on the patient’s left frontal lobe.
EMI began successfully manufacturing and selling CT scanners to hospitals. But within five years, General ElectricAnd Siemens, and other companies to make more improved full-body scanners. EMI eventually stopped producing its own scanners because it could not compete with other manufacturers.
run it IEEE History Center And With the support of donorsThe Milestone Program recognizes outstanding technology developments around the world.
The CT scanner’s Milestone plaque, which is displayed on an exterior wall at the Old Vinyl Factory, reads as follows:
On October 1, 1971, a team at the EMI Research Laboratories located at this site produced an image of a patient’s brain, using the world’s first X-ray computed tomography scanner, based on Godfrey Hounsfield’s patented inventions. The practical realization of high-resolution X-ray images of the internal structures of the human body marked the beginning of a new era in clinical medicine.