Ways the Health Science Center is helping you
Free ImageTool assists researchers worldwide
When dental researchers at the Health Science Center decided to offer their imaging research to the world for free, the world was ready.
Since their software titled "UTHSCSA ImageTool" was released on the Internet in August 1995, at the same time as Microsoft Windows 95 software was released, more than 10,000 copies have been downloaded onto computers worldwide.
Primarily designed to extract data from images, UTHSCSA ImageTool can help researchers in fields ranging from dentistry and medicine to molecular biology, astronomy and other areas.
"For example, you can count stars from an image off a telescope or count cells from an image off a microscope," says S. Brent Dove, DDS, associate professor of dental diagnostic science.
"We've even had calls from individuals using the software to track whales in the Pacific and measure the heat on tanks in the Sahara." Other users include radiologists analyzing CT and other images, and microbiologists performing gel analysis.
Dr. Dove is a creator of the software along with colleagues C. Donald Wilcox, PhD; W. Doss McDavid, PhD, professor of dental diagnostic science; and David B. Greer, research engineering associate in dental diagnostic science.
The dental researchers had been investigating areas including the digitizing of diagnostic images for about eight years and decided to share the software they developed with colleagues who might be helped by the new tool.
The software is designed for use on Microsoft Windows 95 or Windows NT and allows researchers to perform dimensional measurements such as distance, angle and area. It is also able to measure density and other spatial qualities. "This tool is programmable," Dr. Dove says, "so that researchers can use it as a platform to do more or different functions."
Recently, a CD ROM version of the software was created and includes the same applications as well as images from dentistry, medicine and astronomy. The software is available through the World Wide Web at http://ddsdx.uthscsa.edu or via anonymous file transfer protocol at ftp://maxrad6.uthscsa.edu.
Adolescents don't outgrow pediatricians
When ill preteens balk at going to the doctor, their resistance may signal something deeper than dismay with the physician's treasure chest full of "prizes for good little patients." It's more than likely a communication conflict, according to Jorge Gomez, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Health Science Center.
"Parents are used to bringing in the child and doing most, if not all, of the talking about how the child feels," says Dr. Gomez. "But communication changes abruptly around puberty. For the adolescent patient to relate to the doctor, the old relationship has to change."
The pediatrician and patient should talk when the patient is around age 12, so the doctor can tell the preteenager that he or she can talk confidentially, Dr. Gomez says. From here on, the doctor will spend more time talking to the patient and less to the parent.
This also means that the preteen will assume more responsibility for communicating with the doctor.
"Learning how to communicate with teenagers and relating to their concerns is part of pediatric residency training today," says Dr. Gomez.
"We want doctors to be sensitive to adolescent issues and maintain the long-term patient relationship. Although adolescents are a fairly healthy group, they are the group most underserved by the health care system.
"Our goal is to make sure teenagers stay healthy," he adds.
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