X-rays, fluoroscopy, ultrasound, CT, MRI, and PET scans--medical imaging has become a familiar part of modern health care today. A century ago, however, the idea of looking inside the living body seemed absurd. Wilhelm Roentgen's X-ray image of his wife's shadowy hand--with her wedding band "floating" around a white bone--convinced doctors to rush the new tool into use for diagnosis and treatment.
By the 1920s, the technology was a commonplace wonder: army recruits had routinely lined up for chest X-rays during World War I, and children delighted in seeing the bones of their feet in the green glow of shoestore fluoroscopes. By the late 1960s, the computer and television were linked to produce medical images that were as startling as Roentgen's original X-rays. Computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MR) made it possible to picture soft tissues invisible to ordinary X-rays. Ultrasound allowed expectant parents to see their unborn children. Positron emission tomography (PET) enabled neuroscientists to map the brain.
In this lively history of medical imaging, the first to cover the full scope of the field from X-rays to MR-assistant surgery, Bettyann Kevles explores the consequences of these developments for medicine and society. Through lucid prose, vivid anecdotes, and more than seventy striking illustrations, she shows how medical imaging has transformed the practice of medicine--from pediatrics to dentistry, neurosurgery to geriatrics, gynecology to oncology.
Despite their formidable power to reveal the inner secrets of the body, no form of medical imaging can claim to be the product of a technological imperative. As Kevles points out, few of these costly inventions made it easily to the marketplace, and all are vulnerable to the changing economics of the health-care system. In the early years of X-rays, many doctors, technicians, and patients died from overexposure to the invisible radiation. Although we may still find delayed repercussions from these newer technologies, a different kind of danger may lie in our conviction that an early diagnosis is equivalent to a cure.
Beyond medicine, Kevles describes how X-rays and the newer technologies have become part of the texture of modern life and culture. They helped undermine Victorian sexual sensibilities, gave courts new forensic tools, provided plots for novels and movies, and offered artists from Picasso to Warhol new ways to depict the human form.
Naked to the Bone offers readers an unparalled picture of a key technology of the twentieth century.
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It is difficult for us to imagine how mysterious the inside of a living person seemed only 100 years ago, when x-rays were discovered. At that time only God could see a person in the mother's womb; now ultrasound baby pictures, like the one of Bettyann Kevles's grandson on the dedication page of Naked to the Bone, can be mailed out six months before the child is born. Kevles provides an excellent history of the technology of medical imaging--x-rays, CT, NMR, PET, ultrasound, and mammography--but builds on it to examine the wider ramifications of bodily transparency. Anyone going through the high-tech diagnostic gauntlet of the turn of the millennium will want to read this book.About the Author:
Bettyann Holtzmann Kevles is a writer whose reviews of books on science have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and on National Public Radio's Science Friday. She is the author of Females of the Species: Sex and Survival in the Animal Kingdom.
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Book Description Rutgers University Press, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0813523583
Book Description Rutgers University Press, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110813523583
Book Description Rutgers University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0813523583 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1338059