Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an ailment that makes it hard for a person to breath. It is the 4th major cause of death in the United States. This disease can be caused from smoking on a regular basis, air pollution, or chemical fumes. It is a debilitating illness that gets worse over time and eventually makes it difficult for the patient to attend to their activities of daily living.
A technique called parametric response mapping (PRM) is being used at the University of Michigan Medical School to analyze the CT scans of the lungs of patients with COPD. Researchers say “that the PRM technique allows them to better distinguish between early stage damage to the small airways of the lungs, and more severe damage known as emphysema.” It can also help practitioners identify changes in the lungs over time and make early predictions of treatment responses. In addition, this technique will have applications for other body systems in the future.
Imaging technology, like CT, continues to be a central component of the diagnostic process.