Sunday, January 10, 2016

Medical history: What CT did to neurology, MRI has done to sports medicine

Few remember this now, but once neurologists were proud of their ability to localize brain injuries based on complex and detailed examinations. They could, for example, find a tumor or a stroke based on an examination.

Then CT scans came along, and we discovered that those exams didn’t, actually, work.

More or less the same things happened with cardiac auscultation and cardiac anatomy. I remember our cardiology teachers and my fellow medical students could hear “S4s” that somehow I could never hear.  I assumed it was because I was tone deaf. Then cardiac ultrasound took over…

I think the same thing happened with sports medicine. Once we had all kinds of specific shoulder tendon diagnoses we made based on examination. Then MRI showed things were messier. We used to talk about various hip soft tissue disorders like “piriformis” syndrome, not it’s just “deep gluteal pain syndrome”.

There’s a lesson in this somewhere.

No comments: