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The History Of Ultrasound Technology

Ultrasound machines are used for a variety of purposes, especially as a helpful diagnostic tool for physicians. This technology also is used to detect objects that otherwise would be difficult for humans to find, such as wreckages of ships under the sea. Ultrasound also can be used for cleaning and detecting nearly invisible flaws in various products. Here is some interesting information about the history of ultrasound technology.

Ultrasound equipment uses sound waves to produce an image, and these sound waves are at a frequency greater than what our human ears can detect. While this might seem like modern medicine, ultrasound waves have been studied since the late 18th century. By studying echolocation by bats, physiologist Lazzaro Spallanzani developed the first theories of ultrasound physics in the 1790s.

Throughout the 19th century, ultrasound physics continued to be studied and several ultrasound transducers were invented. After the sinking of the Titanic, noted physicist Paul Langevin developed an ultrasound detector that could locate objects beneath the surface of the sea. This detector was used to find submarines below the ocean surface during the first World War.

As the 20th century progressed, researchers discovered uses for ultrasound technology in the field of medicine. As early as the 1920s, ultrasound technology was used for physical therapy purposes, such as relieving the pain of arthritis and other types of chronic pain. It also was used in sports medicine to relieve the pain of sprains and muscle strains.

In 1942, neurologist Karl Dussik invented the first ultrasound device to be used for medical diagnoses. His device was used to detect tumors in the brain. Just a few years later, in 1948, Dr. George Ludwig developed ultrasound equipment that could detect a gall stone. By the early 1950s, ultrasounds also were being used to detect tumors, and the first echocardiogram also was performed successfully.

In the late 1950s, ultrasound technology was introduced into the fields of obstetrics and gynecology, and the first 3-D ultrasound images were produced in the 1980s by Kaznouri Baba, a Japanese obstetrician and gynecologist. Today, millions of parents receive their first glimpse of their young child using sonography. More importantly, it can help detect problems with fetal development which provides parents and physician with critical information.

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