Lemelson-MIT Program Bestows Lifetime Achievement Award To Pioneer of Diagnostic Medicine

- Raymond Damadian Invented Magnetic Resonance (MR) Scanning Machine -

Enabled Early Detection of Cancer and other Diseases



Apr 24, 2001, 01:00 ET from Lemelson-MIT

    NEW YORK, April 24 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- The man who
 invented the MR scanner, a non-invasive diagnostic tool used for the early
 detection of cancer and other diseases, was today named winner of the seventh
 annual Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award for invention and innovation.
 Dr. Raymond Damadian, the pioneer of magnetic resonance scanning technology,
 is being recognized for his contributions to diagnostic medicine.
     Dr. Damadian wrote his first paper about his proposed MR scanner in 1971
 and received a pioneer patent in 1972.  Since his first scan of the human body
 in 1977, MRI technology has grown into a $5 billion per year industry and is
 universally recognized as the premier diagnostic imaging method.  It detects
 diseased tissue more efficiently, accurately and safely than other means.  MR
 machines use radio signals emitted from the body's cells to enable instant
 mapping and analysis of tissue.  Data collected by MR scanners can be
 transformed into images for visual diagnosis or analyzed for chemical
 composition.
     Although the technology used in Damadian's machine-nuclear magnetic
 resonance (NMR or MR), where harmless magnetic fields and radio waves cause
 atoms to emit tiny, detectable radio signals-had existed for 25 years,
 Damadian was the first to successfully apply the physics of NMR to clinical
 medicine.
     In 1971, Damadian demonstrated for the first time that the MR signal could
 overcome one of medicine's longstanding deficiencies -- the inability of the
 x-ray to create the contrast needed to see the body's vital organs.  Citing
 this contrast deficiency in a paper published in Science, Damadian proposed
 that the profound differences between the decay rate of the MR signal of soft
 tissues and the decay rate of the MR signal of cancerous tissues had the
 potential to address this long-standing, critical need in medicine.  He
 proposed the creation of a new body scanner based on the MR signal and on his
 discovery of the critical differences in the MR signals that existed among the
 body's vital tissues.  The images of the interior of the human body that
 resulted from Damadian's work were far superior in detail to those of existing
 X-ray devices because the MR could generate the tissue contrast that was
 missing in x-ray pictures.  This is of particular importance because the
 majority of fatal diseases occur within the body's soft tissue.
     As with any groundbreaking invention, Damadian's MR scanner was met with
 great skepticism.  "What I learned in the process of developing the MR scanner
 was that criticism is an integral part of the process and always has been,"
 comments Damadian. "The bolder the initiative, the harsher the criticism."
     Damadian, a violin student who left the Juilliard School of Music to
 pursue a medical education, first became interested in medicine at the age of
 ten, after witnessing his grandmother's pain and suffering from cancer.  He
 chose medical research over clinical practice because he believed that
 carefully executed experiments could result in major medical contributions
 with the potential to benefit many people.  Damadian felt that research would
 allow him to help many millions of people, rather than the thousands he would
 be able to beneficially reach in the day-to-day practice of medicine.
     Today, Damadian oversees FONAR Corporation, the Melville, NY-based company
 he formed in 1978 to produce and market his MRI scanner.  After twenty-three
 years in business, FONAR continues to research and develop, manufacture, sell
 and ship its own MRI scanners.
     FONAR's recent MRI innovations include a full-sized MRI operating room
 that allows unrestricted 360-degree access to the patient and ample space for
 an entire surgical team and their equipment, and the Stand-Up MRI(TM) -- the
 only scanner to allow MRI patients to simply walk in and be scanned while
 standing.  The revolutionary design of the Stand-Up MRI(TM) allows all parts
 of the body to be scanned in the weight-bearing position.
     "Raymond Damadian's unwavering faith in his ideas enabled him to forge
 ahead amidst enormous skepticism, and to invent a machine that has transformed
 the field of diagnostic medicine.  Jerry Lemelson would have been elated to
 see this 'inventor's inventor' being recognized through the Lemelson-MIT
 Lifetime  Achievement Award," says Lester C. Thurow, Lemelson-MIT Prize Board
 chairman.
     Other recipients of the Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award include
 such distinguished inventors as Al Gross, wireless pioneer who invented the
 walkie-talkie and pager; Stephanie Kwolek, the inventor of Kevlar(R) (used in
 a variety of products from bullet-proof vests to airplane bodies); Wilson
 Greatbatch, creator of the implantable cardiac pacemaker (the first successful
 major biomedical device); and Gertrude Elion, innovator of drugs that combat
 cancer and facilitate organ transplantation between non-related donors.
     The Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award is conferred annually by the
 Lemelson-MIT Program, which recognizes the nation's most talented inventors
 and innovators and promotes living role models in the fields of science,
 engineering, medicine and entrepreneurship in the hope of encouraging future
 generations to follow their example.  Dr. Damadian will be formally presented
 with the Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award on Wednesday, April 25, at a
 special ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in
 Washington, D.C.  This year the ceremony will be held in conjunction with
 "Nobel Week," a series of programs honoring the centennial of the Nobel
 Prizes, hosted by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and
 Innovation at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
     Based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge,
 Massachusetts, the Lemelson-MIT Program was established in 1994 by the late
 independent inventor Jerome H. Lemelson and his wife, Dorothy.   The Program
 celebrates inventor/innovator role models through outreach activities and
 annual awards, including the world's largest for invention-the $500,000
 Lemelson-MIT Prize.  The Program is funded by the Lemelson Foundation, which
 supports other invention initiatives at the Smithsonian's National Museum of
 American History, Hampshire College, the National Collegiate Inventors and
 Innovators Alliance and the University of Nevada, Reno.  For more information
 about the Lemelson-MIT Program, please visit its Web site at
 http://web.mit.edu/invent or contact Kristin Joyce at 617-253-3352.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X78858165
 
 

SOURCE Lemelson-MIT
    NEW YORK, April 24 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- The man who
 invented the MR scanner, a non-invasive diagnostic tool used for the early
 detection of cancer and other diseases, was today named winner of the seventh
 annual Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award for invention and innovation.
 Dr. Raymond Damadian, the pioneer of magnetic resonance scanning technology,
 is being recognized for his contributions to diagnostic medicine.
     Dr. Damadian wrote his first paper about his proposed MR scanner in 1971
 and received a pioneer patent in 1972.  Since his first scan of the human body
 in 1977, MRI technology has grown into a $5 billion per year industry and is
 universally recognized as the premier diagnostic imaging method.  It detects
 diseased tissue more efficiently, accurately and safely than other means.  MR
 machines use radio signals emitted from the body's cells to enable instant
 mapping and analysis of tissue.  Data collected by MR scanners can be
 transformed into images for visual diagnosis or analyzed for chemical
 composition.
     Although the technology used in Damadian's machine-nuclear magnetic
 resonance (NMR or MR), where harmless magnetic fields and radio waves cause
 atoms to emit tiny, detectable radio signals-had existed for 25 years,
 Damadian was the first to successfully apply the physics of NMR to clinical
 medicine.
     In 1971, Damadian demonstrated for the first time that the MR signal could
 overcome one of medicine's longstanding deficiencies -- the inability of the
 x-ray to create the contrast needed to see the body's vital organs.  Citing
 this contrast deficiency in a paper published in Science, Damadian proposed
 that the profound differences between the decay rate of the MR signal of soft
 tissues and the decay rate of the MR signal of cancerous tissues had the
 potential to address this long-standing, critical need in medicine.  He
 proposed the creation of a new body scanner based on the MR signal and on his
 discovery of the critical differences in the MR signals that existed among the
 body's vital tissues.  The images of the interior of the human body that
 resulted from Damadian's work were far superior in detail to those of existing
 X-ray devices because the MR could generate the tissue contrast that was
 missing in x-ray pictures.  This is of particular importance because the
 majority of fatal diseases occur within the body's soft tissue.
     As with any groundbreaking invention, Damadian's MR scanner was met with
 great skepticism.  "What I learned in the process of developing the MR scanner
 was that criticism is an integral part of the process and always has been,"
 comments Damadian. "The bolder the initiative, the harsher the criticism."
     Damadian, a violin student who left the Juilliard School of Music to
 pursue a medical education, first became interested in medicine at the age of
 ten, after witnessing his grandmother's pain and suffering from cancer.  He
 chose medical research over clinical practice because he believed that
 carefully executed experiments could result in major medical contributions
 with the potential to benefit many people.  Damadian felt that research would
 allow him to help many millions of people, rather than the thousands he would
 be able to beneficially reach in the day-to-day practice of medicine.
     Today, Damadian oversees FONAR Corporation, the Melville, NY-based company
 he formed in 1978 to produce and market his MRI scanner.  After twenty-three
 years in business, FONAR continues to research and develop, manufacture, sell
 and ship its own MRI scanners.
     FONAR's recent MRI innovations include a full-sized MRI operating room
 that allows unrestricted 360-degree access to the patient and ample space for
 an entire surgical team and their equipment, and the Stand-Up MRI(TM) -- the
 only scanner to allow MRI patients to simply walk in and be scanned while
 standing.  The revolutionary design of the Stand-Up MRI(TM) allows all parts
 of the body to be scanned in the weight-bearing position.
     "Raymond Damadian's unwavering faith in his ideas enabled him to forge
 ahead amidst enormous skepticism, and to invent a machine that has transformed
 the field of diagnostic medicine.  Jerry Lemelson would have been elated to
 see this 'inventor's inventor' being recognized through the Lemelson-MIT
 Lifetime  Achievement Award," says Lester C. Thurow, Lemelson-MIT Prize Board
 chairman.
     Other recipients of the Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award include
 such distinguished inventors as Al Gross, wireless pioneer who invented the
 walkie-talkie and pager; Stephanie Kwolek, the inventor of Kevlar(R) (used in
 a variety of products from bullet-proof vests to airplane bodies); Wilson
 Greatbatch, creator of the implantable cardiac pacemaker (the first successful
 major biomedical device); and Gertrude Elion, innovator of drugs that combat
 cancer and facilitate organ transplantation between non-related donors.
     The Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award is conferred annually by the
 Lemelson-MIT Program, which recognizes the nation's most talented inventors
 and innovators and promotes living role models in the fields of science,
 engineering, medicine and entrepreneurship in the hope of encouraging future
 generations to follow their example.  Dr. Damadian will be formally presented
 with the Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award on Wednesday, April 25, at a
 special ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in
 Washington, D.C.  This year the ceremony will be held in conjunction with
 "Nobel Week," a series of programs honoring the centennial of the Nobel
 Prizes, hosted by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and
 Innovation at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
     Based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge,
 Massachusetts, the Lemelson-MIT Program was established in 1994 by the late
 independent inventor Jerome H. Lemelson and his wife, Dorothy.   The Program
 celebrates inventor/innovator role models through outreach activities and
 annual awards, including the world's largest for invention-the $500,000
 Lemelson-MIT Prize.  The Program is funded by the Lemelson Foundation, which
 supports other invention initiatives at the Smithsonian's National Museum of
 American History, Hampshire College, the National Collegiate Inventors and
 Innovators Alliance and the University of Nevada, Reno.  For more information
 about the Lemelson-MIT Program, please visit its Web site at
 http://web.mit.edu/invent or contact Kristin Joyce at 617-253-3352.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X78858165
 
 SOURCE  Lemelson-MIT