Lord of the ring artefacts

I’m thoroughly digging the brain section of the Radiology Picture of the Day website. As you might expect, it’s a wonderfully geeky place where radiologists post an image every day, often brain CTs or MRIs, with a little gem of wisdom with each one.

One of the most interesting is the pictured CT scan with a ‘ring artefact’. I’ve contrast enhanced the image so you can see the circle or ring near the centre a little more clearly.

It’s a known imaging problem caused by poor calibration of the scanner.

However, the Radiology Picture of the Day entry notes that these were given special significance by the quacktastic German physician Ryke Geerd Hamer who claimed that his ‘New Medicine’ could cure 98% of all cancers.

He gave these rings the rather immodest name ‘Hamer Foci’ and if they appeared in the brain, apparently this meant cancer was elsewhere in the body.

For Hamer, cancer was simply the body’s reaction to a psychological conflict, and presumably this was what he thought the CT scanner was picking up.

This is despite the fact that CT scans only picture large scale structure on which psychological changes make no recognisable impact.

A curious case of neuroimaging apophenia.

Link to ‘Ring Artefact with Pseudomedical Interpretation’.

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