Eighty percent of Americans will experience an episode of back pain during their lifetime. Many of these people will go on to have chronic pain issues that negatively impact their ability to work and lead a normal lifestyle.

The tragedy in Japan resulting from the earthquake and tsunami is difficult to comprehend. It is compounded by the damage to the nuclear power plant, resulting in radiation releases with uncertainty as to how much more radiation will be emitted.

As the co-author of a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, I want to emphasize one of the conclusions of the study, which was buried in recent news reports.

A recent Florida study, as reported in The New York Times, concluded that three times the number of surgical breast biopsies are being performed than medical guidelines call for. The authors of that study are of the opinion that three times the number of women are having unnecessary surgery, and the associated costs are in the hundreds of millions of dollars a year. That may be the experience in Florida, where the research was performed, but the common practice at UCSF is dramatically different.

Imaging of premature infants is challenging in part because they are so small. The image of entire infant can easily fit on the smallest available detector size of 8”x10”. These images are done with portable radiographic equipment that has to be carefully positioned. The infant is normally in an incubator with numerous lines for monitoring physiology that often have to be moved to acquire the image. The babies are very fragile and must be handled with great care.

Obesity is a major problem in the United States and many other countries in the world. Most people don't think of radiology as being important in the medical evaluation and treatment of obesity—but it is!