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 http://www.pbs.org/tesla/index.html

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 wvalentin@zprad.com

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 http://www.alz.org/.