Quantitative anatomy: Power beyond the images [Book Review]

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 20 (6):501-516 (1999)
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a frontiermedical technology that, in contrast to the othercomputer-assisted technologies providing anatomicalpictures, produces functional images. I argue that PETalso opens up an avenue for shifting from images (asa tool for representation of biomedical data) back toanalysis of measurements (as a tool for quantificationof physiology). Admittedly, quantification of functionrequires structural constraints. I coined the emerginginterpretational framework quantitative anatomyin an attempt to conceptualize the PET merger betweenmeasuring and imaging, the two competing meansmedicine uses to examine the human body. Anatomyjustifies interpretations that fit the existingknowledge of a larger clinical audience, whilestatistical data possess an unexplored potential tointroduce mathematical rigor in the evaluation offunction, but are still a black box for the majorityof clinicians. This epistemological change is beingcarried out by PET users in action as well as indiscourse
Keywords PET  quantification  epistemology  clinical meaning
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