Thompson Uses Sound to 'Get the Picture'
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SHREVEPORT JOURNAL, Tuesday PM Your Health SHREVEPORT BOSSIER CITY, LA., DECEMBER 2, 1980 Thompson Uses Sound to 'Get the Picture By LESLIE WATKINS Journal Staff Writer Ultrasound, a technique used by doctors in order to see inside a patient's body — with sound and not radiation — is not new or unique to Shreveport, but one local doctor knows all about it. Dr. Horace E. Thompson, who came to Shreveport two-and-a-half years ago to teach and head the department of ob-stetrics and gynecology at LSU Medical Center, has been involved in the field of ultrasound — use of high frequency sound waves to identify and visualize structures within the body — for the past 20 years. The recipient of the William Fry Memo-rial Award in 1978 for contributions to the use of ultrasound in medicine. ThomDSOn spent many years in Denver. Colo., where, at the University of Colorado, pioneering work in the field of ultrasound took place. "With ultrasound we can follow any structure, actually visualize it with sound waves," Thompson explained in a recent interview. Original work was in the field of obstetrics, he added, but new techniques and equipment are being developed every day .as well as new areas of medical application. (Thompson's book, "The Use of Ultrasound in Obstetrics," is only two years old, but he's quick to tell you it needs revision.) In pre-natal care, ultrasound is used to reveal a baby's form, activity and move-ment within the mother. The cross-sec-tional picture may not be clear to the expectant mother, but to the doctor the fetal form is clear: head, trunk and ex-tremeties, its heart beat and organs. By looking directly at the organs, the doctor can determine how they are de-veloping and then monitor their develop-ment throughout pregnancy by taking ac-tual photographs of the fetus and keeping them on file. Also used to detect brain lesions, eval-uate heart conditions and to determine the size, shape and extent of tumors (and how effective various types of therapy have been against them), ultrasound is a great diagnostic tool, Thompson said. Ultrasound served in military and in-dustrial capacities before emerging into medicine, Thompson said, but its basic technology was discovered in the 16th Century when it was determined that bats detect objects by sound, not sight. In 1880 — 15 years before the develop-ment of x-rays — researchers found that there are crystals in nature which, when high frequency sound waves travel across them — actually convulse; it was later discovered that these crystals could both receive and transmit high frequency sound waves. During the 19th Century, industry be- Dr. Horace Thompson of the LSU Medical Center stands before the hospital's Ultrasound machine which uses high frequency sound waves to transmit an image of an internal part of the human body onto the small television screen. (Journal photo by Stan Alost) came interested in using ultrasound to detect flaws in metals. Instead of breaking up the long sheets of ore, high frequency sound waves were transmitted across them; any flaw reflected an echo. In World War I the French tried to use sound waves to detect submarines, but that conflict was over and another begun before sonar was actually used to detect underground vessels; today, sound wave6 are used to find schools of fish, sunken ships and other large forms beneath tftfi ocean. «*;.; Out of industrial and military uses two individuals developed ultrasound for use in medicine, Thompson said. Douglas How-rey ("a year ahead of me in medical school") of the University of Colorado developed its use for the human body aftd J. J. Wyld in Minnesota introduced it as a1 diagnostic testing procedure. Thompson said he got involved in de-veloping the use of ultrasound in obstetrics in 1960 at the University of Colorado during which time complementary work was being performed by Ian Donald in Glasgow, Scotland. Since sound does not travel well in air ~ and won't travel at all in a vacuum —a coupler is necessary for the sound to transmit an image onto the screen. Thompson likes to use a water soluble acoustic jelly ("because it isn't sticky"), but mineral oil is used as well. The coupler is spread across the section of the body the doctor wants to examine and then the crystal transmits and fie: ceives the high frequency waves to create the image. "In obstetrics, we usually uAr in the million to 20 million vibrations per second range," Thompson said, "but any-thing over 20,000 vibrations per second is considered ultrasound." Thompson said they do not think there is any danger in using sound waves because 20 years of research projects has revealed no evidence of harm. However, because sound waves do not travel through air, they pose no threat to anyone near the patient. B
|Title||Thompson Uses Sound to 'Get the Picture'|
Thompson, Horace E.
|Notes||Photo of Dr. Horace Thompson|
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|Source||Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport Medical Library (http://lib.sh.lsuhsc.edu)|
|Coverage-Spatial||Shreveport (Caddo, La.)|
|Rights||Physical rights are retained by Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.|