On 1 May 2008, during the 89. German Radiological Congress in Berlin, the physicians were honoured in a ceremony. The independent award committee of four renowned professors of radiology decided to split the Coolidge Award 2008:
Dr Naßenstein convinced the committee with her work on “Spontaneous dissection of the cervical vessels“. According to Professor Dr René Lorenz, medical director at Städtisches Krankenhaus Solingen, department of diagnostic radiology, “this rather rare diseases is nevertheless significant as it is a frequent cause of stroke in younger adults“. With her project, Lorenz said, Naßenstein showed innovative ways of technically optimising high-resolution MRI of the vessels, provided insights on the course of the disease and assessed complications. Her results have already impacted clinical diagnostic decisions at University Hospital Münster and they opened up new research perspectives.
Dr Wedegärtner impressed the committee with her article on “Fetal functional MRI: Determination of fetal oxygenation with MR oximetry“. “Non-invasive determination of oxygenation is clinically relevant”, Professor Lorenz explained when presenting the award, “since currently oxygenation of fetal human tissue cannot be directly assessed with diagnostic means. This lack contributes to the fact that fetal growth restriction with a frequency of five percent and eightfold increased perinatal mortality continues to be a significant problem in obstetrics. In her study on pregnant sheep, Dr Wedegärtner managed to identify a correlation between the results of arterial blood samples and MRI oxygenation in fetal blood. She thus provided a new diagnostic method.“
Professor Dr W Heindel, director of the Institute of Clinical Radiology at University Hospital Münster, and Professor Dr Gerhard Adam, director of the Clinic and Poly-Clinic for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology at University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, each received a cheque for 7,500 EUR from Bernd von Polheim, President GE Healthcare, for their support of these research projects.
Why the Coolidge Award?
With the Coolidge Award GE Healthcare wishes to honour a scientist who is not widely known in Europe. William D Coolidge started his career obtaining a PhD degree from the University of Leipzig and later contributed significantly to imaging radiology. Noteworthy are particularly his innovations with regard to the x-ray tube and his work as director of the GE research lab in Schenectady, USA.