Thursday, December 6, 2012

What is a "slice" in a CT scan?

For the last few weeks, we've been trying to answer some of the common questions people have about radiology, such as why is an MRI machine so noisy or what's the difference between digital X-ray and film X-ray. This week, we'll be talking about Computed Tomography (CT) scans.

In a nutshell, CT scanning, used to diagnose medical conditions, combines special X-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images of the inside of your body.

What is a "slice" in a CT scan?
 You may have heard that CT machines produce slices -- Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology has 64-slice, 128-slice, and 256-slice machines. But what does a "slice" mean? Well, it actually means exactly what it sounds like. Think of a slice of bread or a slice of cake -- the CT machine divides the body up into "slices" and takes pictures of these slices which are then reconstructed using a computer. The CT machine produces 2-dimensional pictures which are put together by a computer into very detailed, 3-dimensional images which show bones, soft tissue, organs, and blood vessels. These pictures then help physicians to diagnose problems. Imagine a loaf of bread. You can see the whole loaf at once or you can look at individual slices. CT gives doctors a very powerful tool to aid in the diagnosis of cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, appendicitis, trauma, and musculoskeletal disorders.

Are more slices always better? Do I always want to have the highest amount of slices possible?
That completely depends on what your physician is looking for. For some conditions, more slices are preferable and can help doctors identify very small abnormalities. For other conditions, the number of slices really doesn't matter. Your radiologist will know which choice is best for you.

What about radiation?
Zwanger-Pesiri is committed to keeping radiation doses as low as possible by using the newest technology. In addition, we participate in the Image Wisely program, which encourages smart medical imaging. We pledge to eliminate unnecessary scans and provide you with the safest scans possible. After your CT, the actual radiation dosage that you were exposed to will be printed on your records and will be provided to you. Keep this information as part of your personal medical record. 

Do you have any questions about MRI, CT, X-rayUltrasound or other scanning machines? Feel free to email us with your questions!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Film X-rays vs. Digital X-rays

Last week, we answered a question about why MRI machines are so loud. This week, we answer another commonly asked question: Is there a difference between film X-rays and digital X-rays, and does it matter?

The answer is yes, there is a difference (several actually) between digital and film X-rays, and those differences do matter. Here's why:

German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen is credited with discovering the X-ray in 1895. (Other scientists had observed the X-ray, but Röntgen was the first to really study it and imagine what it could be used for.) A few weeks after his discovery, Röntgen took the first human X-ray picture of his wife's hand (shown at left). Röntgen later won the first Nobel Prize in Physics for the X-ray.

The X-ray proved to be an invaluable tool for the medical profession, as it allowed physicians to see inside the body without surgery.

Originally, all X-rays used film to produce the images. Like the film you use in a camera, it had to be treated properly and images had to be developed in a darkroom. As technology developed, digital X-rays were introduced, using digital sensors rather than film, to produce images that are available immediately and need no development. Think of it as similar to camera technology -- cameras all used to use film to produce images. Now most cameras on the market are digital and produce digital images. You already know what the benefits of digital pictures over film pictures are: no sending film out to a lab for processing, clearer images that can be easily expanded, sharpened or tweaked, and the immediate satisfaction of not having to wait for your pictures. Plus, your pictures can easily be stored on your computer or in multiple places, unlike a negative which is easily lost or damaged.

The same applies to digital X-rays versus film X-rays.  Digital X-rays have some clear advantages over the old-fashioned use of film. For example:

  • Digital X-rays expose patients to far less radiation than film X-rays, so they pose less of a health risk.
  • The images produced by film X-ray are often less clear than digital, and this sometimes results in the need for a second round of X-rays, meaning more radiation.
  • Digital images can easily be edited, enhanced, and quickly sent to a physician for a diagnosis. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the chance of effective treatment.
  • Film X-rays require the use of hazardous chemicals for development, resulting in dangerous environmental waste.
  • Images are immediately available with digital X-rays, but require time for development with film.
As you can see, not only are there significant differences between film and digital X-rays, but those differences really do make a difference. At Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology, we are committed to minimizing radiation exposure for patients and to providing patients with the best technology, which is why we ONLY use digital X-ray.

Do you have any questions about X-rayUltrasound, MRI, CT, or other scanning procedures? Feel free to email us with your questions!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Why are MRI machines so loud?

Why do MRI machines make so much noise?  This is actually a very common question. Noises associated with MRI machines have been compared to jackhammers, clanking, banging, and industrial noises. You should be aware that these noises are normal and are not an indication that anything is wrong with the machine, but rather an indication that the machine is doing what it is supposed to.

To understand why MRI scans are loud, you need to have a basic understanding of how MRI works. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. In the simplest terms, MRI machines use extremely powerful magnets combined with electromagnetic fields, and coils which produce radio waves, to produce detailed images of organs and tissues in your body. MRI machines do not use radiation and are non-invasive. They are, however, noisy.

Noise is created when magnetic fields are cycled on and off, and when magnets exert an opposing force to each other. (There are several magnets in each MRI machine.) The noise is not harmful, but some people may find it alarming or annoying. At Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology, we have invested in special sound dampening walls in our MRI waiting rooms so that you do not hear sounds from other scans while you are waiting. While you are having the exam itself, we provide you with headphones to diminish the sound and increase your comfort.

For a more detailed explanation on how MRI machines work, visit How MRI Works.

Do you have any questions about MRI, CT, X-rayUltrasound or other scanning machines? Feel free to email us with your questions!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Reducing Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

Last week, we received an email from a reader asking if we could post some preventive measures against breast cancer. We appreciate your input and are happy to provide you with information. This week, we will be addressing this suggestion from our reader. If you'd like to suggest a topic or ask a question to be answered in an upcoming blog, please email us at or post a comment in the comments section of this blog.

While certain risk factors for breast cancer cannot be controlled, such as family history, there are some ways that you can lower your risks. Below are six risk factors that you can control:
  1. Reduce your alcohol consumption. Higher alcohol consumption in women has been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. If you must drink, have no more than one drink per day. (One drink equals a 12-oz bottle of beer, 5-oz glass of wine, or 1.5-oz (one shot) of hard liquor. If you have a typical mixed drink, such as a Cosmo, you are likely having at least 2 shots, or the equivalent of 2 drinks). Click here to listen to an audio tip from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese is associated with a higher risk of breast cancer, particularly after menopause. Being overweight can also increase the risk of recurrence in women who have already had breast cancer. Click here for information about obesity and triple-negative breast cancer.
  3. Exercise. Exercising four or more hours per week may decrease hormone levels and help lower breast cancer risk. Sound like a lot of exercise? It's not.  Four hours a week works out to only a little over a half hour per day. If you've never exercised before, start slowly, and check with your physician first. Remember that things like gardening, dancing, walking and playing tennis are all forms of exercise.
  4. Avoid hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Hormone replacement therapy, in the form of estrogen, progesterone, or both, is sometimes given to postmenopausal women or women who have had their ovaries removed in order to replace the estrogen no longer produced by the ovaries. Combination HRT (combined estrogen and progesterone) increases the risk of breast cancer, and the longer the HRT is continued, the greater the risk. It is still unclear whether estrogen alone increases risk; however, some scientists believe that long-term estrogen use (10 years or more) may also increase breast cancer risk.
  5. Don't smoke.  Aside from raising the risk of lung, throat and mouth cancers, smoking has also been linked with a higher risk of breast cancer in younger, premenopausal women. In addition, smoking can increase complications from breast cancer treatments.
  6. Make sure to go for your yearly digital mammogram or 3D mammogram. Early detection is key to improving your odds for defeating breast cancer. A breast sonogram may also be appropriate for women with dense breast tissue.
Other factors, including exposure to chemicals, certain plastics, low Vitamin D levels, and diet are suspected to be contributing factors to breast cancer; however, not enough studies have been done at this point to be conclusive.

Wondering what your risk is? The National Cancer Institute has an online Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool that can help you better understand your risk.

For more information on breast cancer risks and causes, visit:
Breast Cancer: Prevention, Genetics, Causes

How much can a woman lower her breast cancer risk? Click here for an article on the topic.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

10 Things You Should Know About Mammography

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month -- a month when women typically think about mammograms. In recognition of this, we've decided to talk about mammography in this week's blog post. Specifically, there are ten things you should know about mammography:

  1. A mammogram is essentially a low-dose X-ray of the breasts used to screen for breast problems such as lumps, and to distinguish between fluid-filled lumps (cysts) and solid masses.
  2. Mammograms are able to detect cancer before you or a physician may notice anything wrong. Early detection is key in the treatment of breast cancer and significantly improves outcomes. Mammograms are currently the most effective screening method to detect early breast cancer.
  3. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that women 40 and over have yearly mammograms. Women with a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors may be advised to start having mammograms earlier.
  4. Equipment matters! Digital mammography is slowly replacing traditional film-based mammography, which was limited in its ability to detect some cancers, especially those in women with dense breasts. Digital mammography has greatly improved the early detection of cancer. At Zwanger-Pesiri, we use only digital mammography, as well as Computer-Aided Detection (CAD) to help identify and locate masses. Why does this matter? According to the FDA, CAD could increase early breast cancer detection rates by as much as 23.4%.
  5. 3D mammography (also known as 3D breast tomosynthesis) is the newest form of mammography and is offered at eight of our facilities. This groundbreaking technology creates 3D images which helps detect and diagnose small tumors that may be hidden on a regular 2D mammogram. Experts believe that 3D mammography will replace regular mammography as the standard of care. Newsday and CBS News recently covered this topic.
  6. 3D mammography also reduces false findings (both positive and negative) because the 3D images are clearer and sharper than 2D images. This process creates millimeter-thin slices of the breast that allows the radiologist to see through the overlapping tissue. Because of this, fewer women are called back for additional imaging or biopsies.
  7. Ever wonder why antiperspirants, deodorants and powders should not be used when having a mammogram? The reason is that these substances may make it more difficult to interpret results. Powders can sometimes look like microcalcifications, and antiperspirants can sometimes cause images to appear foggy.
  8. Who performs the actual mammogram? At Zwanger-Pesiri, a specially trained radiologic technologist performs the mammogram, and then a radiologist, who has been subspecialty trained in women's imaging interprets the images.
  9. What if a mammogram comes back abnormal? Don't panic. An abnormal mammogram does not mean that you have cancer. The majority of abnormalities are benign -- such as cysts, harmless lumps or areas of more dense breast tissue. However, in order to determine the cause of the abnormality, your physician may order additional tests such as an ultrasound, a breast MRI or a biopsy.
  10. Why is compression necessary during a mammogram? Compression (or the squeezing of the breast between two plates) is the slightly uncomfortable part of the mammogram that many women dread. Compression, however, is necessary in order to obtain quality images. Compression spreads the breast tissue out more uniformly to help capture the clearest images. The good news is that the compression of the breast is very brief.
Now that you know more about mammograms, take this opportunity to schedule yours today.  If you have any questions about mammograms, feel free to email us

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Resources for Women's Health

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is a reminder not just to take care of breast health, but to take care of health in general. Studies have shown that women are more proactive about their health than men. In fact, a recent study from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention found that women were 100% more likely to seek preventive care (regular check-ups and health screenings) than men. Women are also far more likely to look for health information on the Internet.

The Internet is actually a wonderful resource for health information and guidelines, but sometimes it can be a little hard to know where to start. To help you, we've compiled a list of Women's Health resources on the Internet to use as your starting point. The more you know, the healthier you can be.

Women's Health Resources on the Internet
  • The Office on Women's Health- - This government site, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides information on health topics involving women, news stories, reports, studies, and a monthly "Healthy Women Today" newsletter.
  • The Women's Health Center of WebMD - - provides health information in a variety of formats including videos, slideshows, articles, and interactive discussions.
  • Healthy Women - - is an independent, nonprofit, health information resource for women. This site includes news, an "ask the expert" section, recipes and healthy eating tips, as well as in-depth information on health conditions affecting women.
  • Women's Health: MedlinePlus - - is a government site providing very detailed information, including research, clinical trials, and journal articles.
  • CDC Women's Health - - is a bit more scientific than some of the other sites, but provides healthy living tips, scientific research, and information on a variety of health topics affecting women.
  • Women's Health, Mayo Clinic - - This site allows users to look up diseases by name or search symptoms. It also provides information on medicines, diagnostic tests, and healthy living for women.

    Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology is also a great source of health information for women. Through this blog, Facebook, Twitter, and our website, we provide information on women's health issues including: 3D Mammography, BRCA Genetic Testing, Breast Specific Gamma Imaging, Positron Emission Mammography, Breast MRI, Breast Biopsy and the know error system.

    While the Internet is a great resource for information, nothing takes the place of a face-to-face discussion with your physician. Do the research and come prepared with questions to your next doctor's appointment. The old adage "knowledge is power" is especially true when it comes to health.

    Liked this info? Our October email newsletter covers more women's health issues. If you'd like to sign up for our monthly email newsletter, please click here.

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

    In the News - Sports Injuries

    It's that time of the year again. Football has started up, baseball is winding down, and stories about professional sports injuries are appearing in the news.

    Two recent sports injuries grabbed our attention because each called for the player to undergo a CT scan. The first involved Baltimore Orioles' second baseman, Robert Andino. During the ninth inning of a recent game, Andino was hit in the back of his helmet by a 94-MPH fastball. The player was rushed to a local hospital for a CT scan, which was negative. However, Andino had to have a concussion test before being cleared to play again.

    The second injury involved Dallas Cowboys' player, Jason Witten, who was hit hard in the side during a preseason opener resulting in a lacerated spleen. Before Witten was allowed to play in another game, he was scheduled to have a CT scan.

    We asked ZPR's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Elizabeth Maltin, why the scans were ordered and what they were looking for.

    Regarding the Orioles' Andino, "The CT scan of the head was ordered to see whether there was any bleeding around or within the brain," said Maltin. "Even though the results were negative, the player may still suffer a concussion, which is a clinical rather than an imaging diagnosis," she continued. "That's why he was scheduled for a 'concussion test,' which is a clinical neurologic and cognitive exam that is based on the patient's symptoms, the physician's observations and the mental functioning of the patient. There is a phenomenon known as 'second impact syndrome' which refers to increased risk of traumatic brain injury (TBI) after a concussion. Players sent back to play before fully recovering from the original injury are at a greatly increased risk of TBI if they sustain a second hit to the head. This can potentially be fatal."

    Maltin pointed out that the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has adopted recommendations for "The Management of Concussion in Sports" that are designed to prevent second impact syndrome and reduce the frequency of other cumulative brain injuries related to sports.

    And what about Dallas Cowboys' tight end, Jason Witten, and his lacerated spleen? "Again, they are looking for bleeding," said Maltin. "The spleen is a highly vascular organ and lacerations can improve or get worse. Most isolated splenic injuries can be managed conservatively (non-surgically), which means watch and wait. The patient is observed for any sign of internal bleeding which would indicate a worsening of the splenic injury. Repeat CT scans are important in evaluating the athlete prior to returning to contact sports. An injured spleen requires five weeks of healing to be as strong as an uninjured spleen. The surgical literature supports repeat CT scanning at eight weeks post injury to ensure complete resolution of the injury."

    ZPR is pleased to report that both players were cleared for play and are back in the game. In the future, we'll be looking at other sports injuries in the news and helping to explain them. If you have any questions, we'd be happy to answer them. Email us at

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    Tesla -- The Man and the Magnet

    If you have been to Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology for an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, you know that we use state-of-the art equipment, including 3.0 Tesla and 1.5 Tesla MRI.

    But perhaps you've wondered what, exactly, is a "Tesla?"

    Tesla is a unit of measurement of magnetism. To give you an idea of the strength of a tesla magnetic field, let's use the example of a refrigerator magnet. A strong refrigerator magnet is 100 gauss (another unit of magnetic field). It takes 10,000 gauss to equal 1 tesla, so it's a very strong magnet indeed! But how did it get its name?

    The tesla magnetic unit was named after the scientist and inventor, Nikola Tesla. Tesla was a strange and interesting man -- the epitome of "brilliant mad scientist." He was born in 1856 in what is now Croatia. In 1884, he moved to New York City. He began working for Thomas Edison's company, which was building direct current (DC) generators. Within a few short years, Tesla had a falling out with Edison and started his own company which developed an alternating current (AC) motor based on a rotating magnetic field. Tesla sold his invention to George Westinghouse. What followed, for many years, was a war between inventors about which type of energy was better -- Edison's DC or Tesla's (Westinghouse) AC.

    It wasn't just electricity that Tesla dabbled in. He experimented with X-rays, which had only just been discovered. In fact, one of the earliest X-ray photographs in existence is one of Tesla's hands! (See image at left). Tesla also experimented with radio waves and created radio-controlled devices (later used for military purposes). Tesla's dream was to create a system to transmit electrical energy wirelessly through the air, but this never came to fruition. Tesla was also the inventor of the spark plug for gasoline engines. This was just one of his close to 300 patents worldwide.

    Tesla was a genius, with a photographic memory, who claimed to sleep no more than two hours per night. He never married and claimed that chastity helped his scientific abilities. Mark Twain was a close friend, as was the architect, Stanford White. It was thought that Tesla had obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) -- he developed a hatred of jewelry and round objects, refused to shake hands, could not bear to touch hair, and became obsessed with the number three. He loved pigeons, and would bring injured ones back to his hotel room to heal. He later claimed to have fallen in love with one particular pigeon and that he "loved that pigeon as a man loves a woman." He moved to the Hotel New Yorker in 1934, where he lived until his death in 1943 at age 86. He was eulogized by NY Mayor, Fiorello LaGuardia.

    In 1960, in honor of Nikola Tesla, the General Conference on Weights and Measures dedicated the term "tesla" as a unit measure of magnetic field strength. But that's not the only thing that has been named after him. In addition to a unit of magnetic force, Tesla is also the name of an electric car company, a minor planet, the largest power plant in Serbia, a crater on the far side of the moon, an airport in Belgrade, and a rock band!

    To learn more about Nikola Tesla, visit

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    Save the Date - September 30, 2012 Health Fair!

    Mark your calendars! Zwanger-Pesiri is having a Health Fair! Please join us on Sunday, September 30th from 1pm to 5pm for a FREE, fun, educational and inspirational afternoon.

    WHERE: The parking lot of Zwanger-Pesiri's Lindenhurst Office at 150 East Sunrise Highway.

    WHO'S INVITED? Everyone! Bring your entire family. There will be activities for all ages!

    WHO WILL BE THERE? Over 50 vendors offering a wealth of health information!
    • Physician specialists
    • Acupuncture
    • Skin and Beauty care
    • Cooking demonstrations
    • Yoga
    • Aerobics
    • Blood drive
    • Weight loss information
    • Personal training
    • Food & Drinks
    • Health insurance information
    • Nutrition
    • Live music
    • and much more!
     Don't miss this chance to meet some of the ZP staff and learn about how to maximize your health. Enjoy a fun fall afternoon with us.

    For more information contact Wendy Valentin at 631 930-9434 or email

    Rain date - Sunday, Oct. 7th.

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    New Test to Help Detect Alzheimer's Disease

    Alzheimer's disease is a difficult condition to diagnose. People who have it often have memory issues or problems understanding things, but that alone doesn't mean they have Alzheimer's. There are actually many reasons for cognitive decline. However, these cognitive issues paired with the presence of clumps of amyloid proteins (called plaques) in the brain are an indication of Alzheimer's. Until recently, the only way to find out if a patient had amyloid plaques in the brain was to do an autopsy after the patient's death. This has now changed.

    This past spring, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new drug, florbetapir, for use with Positron Emission Tomography, or PET imaging, to help diagnose Alzheimer's disease by identifying amyloid plaques in the brain.

    How does the test work? It is only for patients who are showing signs of cognitive decline and are being evaluated for Alzheimer's disease. Florbetapir is a radioactive agent which is administered intravenously. It attaches to amyloid plaques in the brain and makes them appear visible during a PET scan. If the scan shows few amyloid plaques, then Alzheimer's is less likely to be the cause of the patient's cognitive problems. However, if the scan shows many plaques, then it is an indication of Alzheimer's disease.

    The benefit to the scan is that if a patient does have Alzheimer's, the earlier it is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin. Since treatment can slow the progression of the disease, the sooner the diagnosis, the better. For more information about Alzheimer's disease, visit the Alzheimer's Association at

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    Dense Breast Tissue -- What Does it Mean?

    This summer, New York became the fourth state (after Connecticut, Texas and Virginia) to mandate that women be notified if their mammogram reveals that they have dense breasts -- but what does "dense breasts" actually mean, and how does it affect you?

    Mammograms can show whether breasts are made up of mostly dense (meaning milk producing or connective tissue) or fatty tissue. Fatty tissue shows up dark on mammograms, while dense tissue shows up white. The problem is that potentially cancerous spots also show up white, making them harder to spot in dense breasts. The purpose of informing women if they have dense breasts is so they and their physicians can discuss whether additional imaging procedures, such as ultrasound, MRI, or 3D breast tomosynthesis (also known as 3D mammography) would be beneficial to help identify potential problems.

    Does having dense breasts mean a reduced chance of surviving cancer if cancer is discovered? The answer, according to a recent study, is no.

    The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, followed over 9,000 breast cancer patients and found that patients with dense breasts were no more likely to die from breast cancer than those with less dense breasts. So, while tumors in dense breast tissue may be harder to detect, once detected they are no more aggressive or harder to treat than tumors in less dense breasts.

    What does this mean to you?  If you are notified that you have dense breasts, speak to your physician about whether additional testing might be useful for you, such as 3D breast tomosynthesis. Patients who are classified as having dense breasts benefit the most out of this new technology. Ultimately, take comfort in knowing that breast cancer patients with dense breasts do not have worse outcomes than those without dense breasts.

    For more information about the study, visit

    Monday, August 20, 2012

    Preventing Misdiagnosis in Breast Cancer

    How common are lab errors? According to one study, 1 in 100 women (1%) may receive the wrong diagnosis due to a lab mix-up. With about 1.6 million women having breast biopsies each year, simple math shows that an alarming number may be misdiagnosed. How do we make sure that NEVER happens with our patients? Read on...

    Question: I will be having a breast biopsy in a week, and I'm very concerned about something. I am worried that my sample might get mixed up with the sample of someone else, and that I might get a false positive that way. How do you make sure that samples don't get mixed up and that I get the proper results?

    Answer: At Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology, we understand your concerns.  Your fear is one that is shared by many people, and for good reason. Please rest assured that at ZPR we ensure that you get the right results by using the know error® breast biopsy system.

    The system is very simple and painless, and uses DNA technology to match positive samples to patients. Here's how it works in a nutshell: Before your biopsy, a technologist will take a swab of the inside of your cheek. This gathers a sample of your DNA. As you probably know, DNA is individual to each person. No two people have the same DNA.

    After your biopsy, all the samples, and your swab are carefully labeled and sent for analysis. In the event that your biopsy result comes back positive, the DNA from your sample is matched with the DNA from your cheek swab. You can have peace of mind that there is no way that you will get a result that isn't yours.

    This is just one of the ways that ZPR strives to ensure patient safety and high standards for all of our patients across Nassau and Suffolk counties of Long Island. If you have any questions or concerns that you would like addressed, please contact us.

    Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    Healthy Eating for Kids

    Our recent newsletter covers Kids and Radiology. This week's blog post will talk about how to get and keep kids eating healthy. If you don't get our monthly e-newsletter, and you'd like to, subscribe here.

    Children can be notoriously picky eaters and getting them to try new foods (especially vegetables) and eat a balanced diet, can sometimes be challenging. Here are some tips for encouraging healthy eating habits in kids:

    Eat the Rainbow. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, e.g., carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, blueberries, strawberries and tomatoes are healthier than "white" vegetables such as potatoes. Encourage kids to eat a rainbow of foods each day.

    Go for Organic. Young children are more sensitive to pesticides and chemicals used in plant growth. If organic produce isn't too costly, it's well worth it. To see which fruits and vegetables are best to buy organic and which are safe to buy non-organic, visit the Environmental Working Group's Shopper's Guide.

    Play with Food. Letting kids play with their food -- i.e., make their own creations or make decorative foods -- is a great way to incorporate different veggies. Who doesn't like broccoli "trees" or carrot "swords" or "boats" made out of zucchini or cucumber?

    Hide the Veggies. For kids who are resistant to eating vegetables, try disguising them. Zucchini bread, carrot cake, and bran muffins are all easy ways to slip some nutrition into what seems to be a treat. Also consider adding shredded carrots or zucchini into meatloaf, and mixing vegetables into pasta.

    Healthy Substitutions. Instead of cookies or candy, give kids bowls of berries, cherries, or mixed raisins and nuts for snacks. Instead of french fries, try oven roasted sweet potato wedges. Instead of iceberg lettuce, try a darker green like spinach or mixed baby greens. Use fresh vegetables whenever possible, and frozen rather than canned.

    Let them Cook. When children are involved in the cooking, they will be more likely to try the finished product. Let kids take part in food preparation (supervised of course) and they may be willing to try foods they never would have tried before.

    Thursday, July 26, 2012

    Dr. Robert Ledley -- Inventor of the CT Scan

    ZPR mourns the passing of Dr. Robert Ledley, the inventor of the first Computed Tomography (CT) scanner that was capable of imaging any part of the body. He passed away on Tuesday, July 24th, at the age of 86.

    As a young man, Ledley wanted to study physics. His practical parents told him he could, providing he also became a licensed dentist. His parents wanted to be sure he could make a good living, so Ledley studied physics but also became a dentist. In the late 1950s, he became interested in computers and began focusing on how computers could assist in solving biomedical problems. In 1960, Ledley founded the National Biomedical Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the use of computing methods among biomedical scientists. By the early 1970s, he began his work on CT scanning.

    His first machine was the Automatic Computerized Transverse Axial (ACTA) scanner, which was the first one capable of scanning the entire body. The original prototype of the ACTA scanner is at the Smithsonian Institution, and Ledley was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1990 and awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Clinton in 1997.

    Prior to Dr. Ledley's invention, radiologists had limited resources -- primarily, traditional X-rays. CT scanning provides much higher resolution images than X-rays, as well as being able to produce cross-sectional, 3D images. The invention of the CT scanner has changed how physicians diagnose and treat diseases.

    ZPR acknowledges Dr. Ledley's great contribution to our field and is proud to offer the latest in CT technology, including the 256-slice CT-Flash scanner which exposes patients to 75% to 90% less radiation than most other scanners.

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    ZPR and You: The Patient Portal

    Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology is always looking for new ways to improve service for our patients. One recent, and exceptionally useful, improvement was the launch earlier this year of our Patient Portal. The Patient Portal gives YOU access to your reports and information via your computer. Using the Patient Portal you can:
    • View your exam results
    • See a record of all your procedures and appointments
    • Make payments and view your balance
    • View upcoming appointments
    How does it work? You simply sign up on our secure website (your privacy and security are very important to ZPR and we never put your privacy or safety at risk). Three business days after your physician has received your test results, they will be available to you on the Patient Portal. Exam reports are in PDF format, so you can download a copy to your own computer! Patient response has been extremely positive.

    The Patient Portal is just one of the ways that ZPR is helping you to have more control of your own health care. Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts that will cover other "ZPR and You" topics.

    Frequently Asked Portal Questions

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    Radiology Specialties

    In previous blog posts, we've already established that radiologists are highly trained physicians, and we've looked at some of the things that radiologists do. In this week's post, we will look at some radiology specialties.

    Radiologists are specialists at diagnosing disease and injury using medical imaging techniques. But there are also many subspecialties of radiology, including:

    • Neuroradiology which focuses on the diagnosis of brain, spinal cord, head, neck, and vascular problems. Some diagnostic tests that neuroradiologists perform include: sinus CT for evaluation of inflammatory disease (sinusitis), neck CT to assess the larynx, lymph nodes and salivary glands, CT and MR angiograms to detect aneurysms, and MRI to evaluate brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, strokes, and neck and back pain.
    • Body Imaging which involves studies of the chest, abdomen and pelvis, including: prostate MRI, cardiac MRI, abdominal CT to identify kidney and ureter stones, lung CT and many more. Ultrasound may be performed to evaluate abdominal or pelvic pain, vascular disorders and for obstetrics.
    • Breast Imaging which uses digital mammography, positron emission mammography, 3D breast tomosynthesis, breast MRI, and breast specific gamma imaging to diagnose and stage breast cancer. Office-based biopsies are also performed, when necessary.
    • Musculoskeletal Imaging, which as the name implies, identifies issues with muscles, bones and joints using MRI and CT. Radiologists who specialize in this field also use MR arthrography to help identify the cause of joint pain, most often in the shoulder.
    • Nuclear Medicine which diagnoses diseases using a radioactive agent -- called a radiopharmaceutical -- along with imaging technology. Nuclear medicine specialists are physicians who have specialized and become board certified in nuclear medicine. Some radiologists also have additional specialized training in nuclear medicine.
    Have any questions about radiology specialties? Contact us to ask! We welcome your questions and comments!

    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    What does a radiologist do?

    Now that we've established that radiologists are highly trained physicians, it's time to address the question of what radiologists do.  Because they operate more "behind the scenes," patients are sometimes confused about the role of a radiologist.

    Q: When I come in for my MRI, the radiologist is the one who is performing the test, right?

    A: Wrong! As a general rule, the people who conduct the tests are radiologic technologists. Radiologic technologists have been specially trained to operate the equipment, and they operate under the supervision of radiologists, but radiology techs are not doctors.

    Q: Then what is the role of the radiologist?

    A: Radiologists diagnose disease and injury using medical imaging technologies -- such as MRIs or CT scans. Just as your regular physician might diagnose your health problem by examining your body, radiologists are specially trained to interpret results of imaging studies and then convey this information to your referring physician. Radiologists also commonly work with referring physicians to help choose the best imaging technique for each patient's specific issue.

    Q:  So the radiologist works with my referring doctor?

    A: Yes, your radiologist plays an important role in your health by acting as an expert consultant to your referring physician. Besides helping him or her choose the proper imaging exam, your radiologist will also interpret the resulting medical images and use those results to recommend further scans or treatments if necessary.

    Thursday, June 28, 2012

    Proposed NY Legislation Regarding Mammograms

    A new bill has been approved by the New York legislature which would require women to be notified in mammography reports if they have dense breast tissue, a common condition that makes it harder to diagnose breast cancer. Under the proposed legislation, the mammography reports would suggest to women with dense breast tissue that they speak with their physician about additional screenings, such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The proposed bill is currently in the hands of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is reviewing it.

    Earlier this year, the FDA approved 3-D breast tomosynthesis (known as 3-D mammography). "I think it'll help us with patients that have dense breast tissue," said Kristin Byrne, chief of breast imaging for New York's Lenox Hill Hospital, to the LA Times at the time of the approval. She speculated that 3-D imaging for breast cancer screening eventually will become standard.

    ZPR radiologists routinely comment on the density of patients' breasts in reports and suggest additional imaging studies where appropriate. "Mammography is currently the gold standard screening test for detection of breast cancer, and has been shown to reduce the number of deaths due to breast cancer," said Rebecca Obedian, M.D., of Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology. "However, mammograms do not detect all breast cancers. Many studies have shown that supplementing mammography with an ultrasound (and in some cases with a breast MRI) can help to detect small breast cancers. This is especially helpful in patients with dense breasts. Making patients aware of their density status allows them to discuss further testing options with their physicians."

    Friday, June 15, 2012

    June is Men's Health Month

    Men - This post is for you!

    We interrupt discussing what a radiologist is and what they do to remind you that June is Men's Health Month! ZPR cares about men, but do you care about yourselves? A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found that women are FAR more likely than men to seek medical attention. How much more likely? According to the study:
    • Women are 100% more likely to seek preventative care than men. (Preventative care includes regular checkups and health screenings).
    • The rate of doctor visits by women aged 15-44 was 56% more than men in the same age group.
    • The overall rate of health care use among women, regardless of race, was 33% higher than men. 
    The CDC believes that some explanations for this are that women are traditionally the ones in the family who are concerned with health and wellness, and that women use medical care for screening and health education.

    Guys - take control of your own health. Use some of the websites below to get information about men's health and about what screenings/diseases to be aware of!

    Men's Health Resources:
    Our next monthly email newsletter will discuss some medical imaging tests that specifically apply to men's health issues. If you are not on our email list, click here to be added, and remember to check off the "subscribe to newsletter" box.

    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Is a radiologist a "real" doctor?

    Is a radiologist actually a doctor?

    You'd be surprised how often this question gets asked. The answer is a resounding YES! Radiologists are trained physicians, the same as cardiologists, pediatricians, urologists, and other doctors.

    What does it take to become a radiologist?

    Many, many years of education and training, including:
    • Four years of college to get an undergraduate degree
    • Four years of medical school
    • One year internship
    • Four years in a diagnostic radiology residency
    • One to two years of advanced subspecialty training (a fellowship)
    • Certified by the American Board of Radiology 

    Radiologists have four to six years of unique, post-medical school training in radiation safety to ensure optimal performance of radiological procedures and interpretation of medical images. Other medical specialties receive far less imaging education, ranging from a few days to a maximum of 10 months

    Radiologists are not just doctors, they are experts in diagnosing and treating disease and injury by using medical imaging techniques.

    Stay tuned for our next blog post where we will explain exactly what radiologists do.