Q&A with Co-Author Catherine Westbrook
Tell us a little bit about your book – who is it aimed at and how will it help them?
MRI in Practice has been an essential book for technologists, radiographers and radiologists wishing to learn about MRI for nearly 20 years and is now a market leader. It covers fundamental topics that anyone practicing MRI needs to understand to get the most out of the MR system and interpret images correctly. In addition it has helped technologists in the USA prepare for the MRI registry examination.
What differentiates your book from others in the field?
It is written by clinical people for other clinicians and as such is geared very much towards the application of theory into practice. Specifically the authors are technologists/radiographers and therefore rather than present material in a highly technical or mathematical fashion, which is common of other books of this genre, we approach the theoretical concepts from the point of view of how technologists or radiographers make appropriate selections at the MR console or how radiologists interpret images correctly. We also use analogies to help the reader understand complicated theory by relating it to something a lot simpler. Finally the use of clear simple diagrams also assists the reader to understand difficult concepts.
What do you feel are the reasons for the success of MRI in Practice over the years?
The main reason I think is that it is written for clinicians by clinicians who can therefore speak the same language as the reader. The application of theory to practice is at the forefront of our approach. For the most part clinicians involved in MRI are not physicists and so unless they can see how the theory relates to what they actually do in practice, it is difficult to make sense of it all. The key is that the book uses simple language, analogies and clear diagrams that are always related to practice. This has a special resonance for MRI clinicians (excuse the pun!). The book is also considered essential reading for preparation for the MR registry examination in the USA and, as so many undertake this examination and have found using the book has really helped them pass, this has undoubtedly increased the books popularity. Another reason for the books success is that it is used as course material on the MRI in Practice course that is taught by myself and co –author John Talbot to hundreds of people annually in 14 different countries around the world. The popularity of this course and its synergy with the book has meant that it is used all over the world and has been translated into other languages.
What made you think that a companion website was appropriate for this edition?
I thought it was time to look at a digital element to the book as this seems to be the trend in publishing at the moment. I didn’t want to totally digitize the book at this stage but felt that a companion web site was a good starting point. On the MRI in Practice course John Talbot and I use some very sophisticated 3D animations in our presentations. Some of these have been used in the companion web site specifically where an animation rather than a static image in the book really helps understanding. We know from feedback from delegates that attend the MRI in Practice course that these animations make all the difference so this is a good opportunity to help readers of the book as well.
What is your day job?
Senior University Lecturer and International Lecturer in MRI.
What other field would you work in if not MRI?
I have always wanted to be an airline pilot and actually acquired my license when I was 17 (a very long time ago!). Its too late to pursue that now but if I could live my life all over again I think I would have tried harder to achieve this ambition! Perhaps there are some similarities between flying a plane and flying an MR scanner – who knows!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I travel a lot and I also enjoy reading and hanging out with my family.
And finally, what’s next for you?
Together with John Talbot, I am currently developing i-phone and Android apps of the lectures we give on the MRI in Practice course. We hope to make these available later in 2011. These will further compliment the new edition of MRI in Practice and the MRI in Practice course. After that, then I guess the next project is the new edition of Handbook of MRI Technique.
“MRI in Practice can be recommdned for all radiologic professionals interested in MR imaging. This is a strong text for the MR student and an updated resource for the MR technologist seeking to refresh imaging concepts and be introduced to new imaging updates.” (Radiologic Technology, 1 March 2012)
"Westbrook (health and social care, Anglia Ruskin U., UK) et al. provide a text on magnetic resonance imaging for radiographers, technologists, radiology residents, undergraduate and graduate students, and radiologists . . . This edition has been revised and updated and has rewritten chapters on encoding and image formation and pulse sequences to include sampling, data acquisition, and the latest sequences." (Book News, 1 August 2011)