Indomitable Essay

2915 words - 12 pages

In 1976, science and medicine effectively crossed paths to create the full-body magnetic resonance scanner. This groundbreaking invention, completed by Dr. Raymond Damadian, turned out to be one of the most important discoveries in the history of medicine. Dr. Damadian’s scanner applied the principles of nuclear magnetic resonance to the human body for the first time, in order to detect cancerous cells in the body without the use of X-rays or surgery. Dr. Damadian’s first full-body scanner, named “Indomitable”, gave rise to the practice of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in all fields of medicine. Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, which is often simply referred to as magnetic ...view middle of the document...

In addition, Dr. Damadian’s critics denounced his ideas because he was basing his ideas off of a fairly new theory for the structure of cells that had not yet garnered much support yet.
However, despite the criticism he received, Dr. Damadian acknowledged the fact that he would be left in isolation during the formation of his scanner and was determined to prove that NMR had the potential to play just as an important of a role in the medical fields as it did in a physics or chemistry lab (33). Dr. Damadian sought funding for his research and construction of the scanner from the Health Research Council and the National Institutes of Health, but was repeatedly denied support until he reapplied for from the National Institute of Health after he personally wrote a letter to President Nixon asking for help (67). Dr. Damadian and his research team quickly ran out of money, but had their funds quickly replenished after Dr. Damadian was granted a patent for his “Apparatus and Method for Determining Cancer Tissue” on February 5, 1974 (82). The process of creating the scanner accelerated from this point and eventually Dr. Damadian had completed “Indomitable. On July 3, 1976, they had captured the first images of the whole human body using NMR technology after four hours and forty minutes of scanning one of Dr. Damadian’s colleagues. Dr. Damadian would later say on that momentous night “‘this is what it must have been like to step on the moon for the first time’” (182). The purpose of this essay will be to examine the ways in which NMR imaging has directly impacted medicine and the treatment of patients by making the body more transparent, but also how it has changed the dynamics behind the treatment.
News about Dr. Damadian’s invention quickly spread and people began to weigh the possible positive implications of this breakthrough invention. For example, an article from a 1976 edition of The Des Moines Register summarizes the major findings made by Dr. Damadian and his team by highlighting the fact in several instances that this new scanner does not require the use x-rays (Edelson). Prior to Dr. Damadian’s research, X-rays could be used to detect tumors, but not to the precision and accuracy presented through the use of NMR. Additionally, the individual risked exposure to radiation when he or she had X-ray images taken of their body. Shortly following Dr. Damadian’s first successful screening with his original scanner, his team decided that they needed to create a company, and so they formed FONAR corporation in March of 1978 (Kleinfield 203). It was a very difficult process to find investors for their company, but David Campagna was sold by Dr. Damadian’s enthusiasm and bought $600,000 worth of FONAR stock (205). In 1980, the field of medicine made a turn for the better when the company was ready to start selling their scanners commercially (211). The first scanners were very expensive, but many hospitals purchased them and sales continually increased...

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