June 11, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

MRI Inventor Honored

Dr. Raymond V. Damadian, inventor of the MRI scanner, received the 2007 National Inventor of the Year Award in Washington DC, according to a press release from the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation.
    Damadian, head of FONAR Corporation, which he founded in 1978, received the 2007 award for inventing the Upright MRI, a scanner that “allows physicians to image patients in various weight-bearing positions in order to view tissues or analyze the spine, joints, or bones for fractures under the strain of normal use rather than in a prone position.”  Despite Philips Corporation commercials now airing on TV, FONAR advertises theirs as the only true “Open MRI” system.  The “tunnel MRI” devices require the patient to lie on a bed.  Open MRI allows for much more flexibility in positioning of the target tissue, and much more comfort for the patient.  In a press release from the company May 17, Damadian explained why this is like going from the gas lamp era to the age of electric lights.
    For years, Dr. Damadian had to defend his original MRI patent against large international corporations – and he eventually won.  Yet in 2003, the Nobel Price for the MRI was given to two rivals who built on his discovery.
    The award article tells how he is now working on an operating room MRI that will allow surgeons to see diseased tissue in real time as they operate.  The first such device has been installed at Oxford University in England.

You recall that suspicions loomed large in 2003 that Damadian was denied the Nobel Prize because of his creationist views (02/09/2004).  It’s good to see his epochal work continue to get recognized.  46 years from now, when the Nobel Committee’s 2003 records are opened, the truth may come out about their anti-creationist bias.  By then, the Nobel Prize itself may be a relic of the 20th century.  Historians, though, will continue to honor Damadian as the man who pioneered inventions that have helped millions.

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Categories: Politics and Ethics

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