Given Institute to host expert in virtual scanning Thursday |

Given Institute to host expert in virtual scanning Thursday

Aspen Times Staff Report

Revolutionary advances in virtual scanning are making it possible to predict an individual’s chance of a heart attack and are providing noninvasive early detection for lung and colon cancer.

On Thursday, James Ehrlich, M.D., will present “Virtual Scanning: Heart, Lung, Colon ” Is It Really For You?” at the Given Institute, as part of the institute’s winter public lecture series. The free lecture will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Given Institute, 100 E. Francis Street in Aspen. Ehrlich is medical director of the Colorado Heart and Body Imaging Center in Denver.

He will talk about major advances in virtual scanning, which uses electron beam technology to peer into the workings of the heart, lungs, colon and stomach. He will also discuss recent evidence that shows virtual colonoscopy to be more accurate than conventional methods.

Although colon cancer is the second most common cancer in America, only 25 to 30 percent of adults go through the conventional procedure to detect it ” often because of the procedure’s discomfort.

A study released in December 2003 shows virtual colonoscopy to be more accurate than conventional methods, according to Ehrlich, who added that virtual colonoscopy is a much more comfortable procedure. The Colorado Heart and Body Imaging Center has been conducting virtual colonoscopies since 2000.

Virtual scanning also freezes the image of a heart between beats, and measures the amount of calcium in the arteries ” an accurate predictor of heart attacks.

For decades, physicians have relied on X-rays to look for signs of lung cancer, but recent developments in scanning technology have led to dramatic advances in the ability to detect lung cancer at far earlier stages, according to Ehrlich.

“But none of the high-tech procedures are a substitute for prudent lifestyle management,” he said. “Prevention and early detection are both important keys for healthy living in the new century.”

He will also talk about who should ” and shouldn’t ” seek out virtual scanning procedures.

The Given Institute, a property of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, is celebrating its 30th year of hosting numerous national and international conferences as well as professional medical seminars. The Aspen Given Foundation, a nonprofit fund-raising arm of the Given Institute, offers a schedule of public lectures, brown bag lunch series with local doctors and a valleywide dental health fair for children.

The winter lecture series is supported by friends of the Aspen Given Foundation, the city of Aspen and The Fred and Elli Iselin Foundation. For more information, contact the Aspen Given Foundation 925-3730 or visit the Web site at