The 13th Wellcome Image Awards were announced on 11 March 2014, recognising the creators of the most informative, striking and technically excellent images recently acquired by Wellcome Images, as chosen by a panel of judges.
A striking image of a mechanical heart pump inside the chest of a patient was announced as the overall winner of the Wellcome Image Awards 2014.
The image was captured by Anders Persson, Director of the Centre for Medical Image Science and Visualisation (CMIV) at Linköping University in Sweden. Professor Persson was one of the first people to introduce the use of colour 3D images from scans into daily clinical practice.
This image was created from a new type of scan known as dual energy computed tomography (DECT) angiography. Unlike a conventional computer tomography (CT) scan, DECT uses two sources of X-rays at different energies to scan the patient. These are then digitally reconstructed in three dimensions and can be rotated, sliced or magnified for greater clarity. DECT provides higher quality images than conventional CT without the need for exposure to additional radiation. This technique is extremely useful for noninvasively investigating and diagnosing medical conditions and for performing virtual autopsies.
BBC Medical Correspondent Fergus Walsh, who was a member of the judging panel, and presented this year’s awards said: “Anders Persson’s 3D image of a mechanical heart fitted inside a human chest is truly stunning. The juxtaposition of delicate human anatomy with the robust mechanical plumbing parts is dramatic, and the image is rendered so vividly in 3D that it appears to jump out at the viewer.”
The Wellcome Image Awards celebrate the best in science imaging talent and techniques. This is the second time that an overall winner has been selected. It is one of 18 winning images chosen from those acquired by the Wellcome Images picture library since the 2012 Awards. From scanning electron micrographs of a kidney stone and a head louse egg, to an x-ray of a bat, a 3D computed tomography image of a seal skull and a cross section of a flower bud, the images show in minute detail the wonder that can be found in the world around and within us.
Fergus Walsh added: “As always, this year’s entries are both technically brilliant, and visually spectacular. Never before have I thought of a kidney stone or a nit as beautiful, but the Wellcome Image Awards show time and again that there can always be a different way of looking at things.”