Meet Ezra, the full-body cancer screener that just might save your life.
Combining MRI imaging technology with artificial intelligence, Ezra scans for possible cancer in the human body in up to 13 organs. It also monitors for hundreds of other conditions, such as brain aneurysms or fatty liver disease.
The New York-based company just received FDA clearance to implement another level of AI — called Ezra Flash — that will enhance the imaging results of the scans to enable faster, higher-quality results at a lower cost.
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“Our current 60-minute scan is $1,950, but with the new AI, the faster 30-minute scan will be $1,350,” said Emi Gal, founder and CEO of Ezra, in an interview with Fox News Digital.
“Ultimately, our goal is to create a $500 full-body MRI that anyone can afford,” he also said.
The inspiration for Ezra came from Gal’s own personal motivation to help people find cancer early. He is at a high risk for developing melanoma — and his mother passed away from the disease.
“I strongly believe that the cure for cancer is early detection,” Gal said.
“The five-year survival rates are significantly higher for people who find cancer early.”
While some cancers have very clear screening guidelines — mammograms for breast cancer and colonoscopies for colon cancer, for example — most types don’t have screening procedures available, he explained.
That means for cancers of the pancreas, liver or brain, most people don’t get diagnosed until they have symptoms, said Gal.
“Everyone should have the right to know what is going on in their body.”
Ezra is now in use in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami and Las Vegas. The company partners with existing ACR (American College of Radiology)-accredited facilities, where the scans are performed.
“We’ve scanned just under 5,000 people and we’ve helped 13% of our members find possible cancer,” Gal said.
More and more physicians are referring their patients for Ezra scans, he noted.
“We now have about 200 physicians,” he said. “These are mainly primary care physicians who send their patients to get scans proactively.”
The main feedback they’ve received from members is that they love Ezra, but it’s too expensive to do every year and needs to be more affordable.
“That’s what we’ve been working on for the past year-and-a-half now, and that’s what this new AI will enable,” Gal said.
Here’s how Ezra works
The current 60-minute version of Ezra uses two different types of artificial intelligence.
One of those automates some of the things radiologists do when reading a scan.
“For example, when a radiologist looks at a prostate MRI, they need to measure the size of the prostate and the size of any lesions, and they need to draw a circle around the lesions for biopsy prep,” Gal explained.
“All of that is automated using AI, which makes radiologists faster and lowers our costs, which enables us to pass those savings on to consumers.”
“We want to make booking your screening as easy as booking an Uber.”
The other type of AI helps with the reporting side — it produces a radiology report and “translates” it into a clear, understandable format, Gal said.
“For example, if you have a 6-millimeter nodule in your thyroid, the AI explains what that means, what you should do about it and how to monitor and follow up,” he said. “We don’t just deliver a radiology report — we give you a kind of translation of what you should do about it.”
The patient also has the option to do a video call with one of Ezra’s on-staff doctors to discuss the results.
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With the new Ezra Flash that has just been cleared by the FDA, the shorter 30-minute scan includes a third level of AI that enables radiologists to complete scans much faster. The AI then enhances the quality of the images so radiologists can more easily read them.
“The quality of an MRI is determined by the level of ‘noise,’” explained Gal. “And so in technical terms, our AI is able to remove the noise that results from a much faster scan.”
The company’s ultimate goal is for Ezra to offer a 15-minute, full-body MRI scan for $500; it aims to achieve this over the next two to three years.
“Ultimately, we think Ezra should be the end-to-end cancer screening platform,” Gal said. “We want to make booking your screening as easy as booking an Uber.”
“Our ability to scan more people in the future will come from seamless, easy, convenient access to any kind of screening.”
A life-saving scan
One 36-year-old man, who asked that his name be withheld for privacy reasons, decided to schedule a preventative full-body cancer screening with Ezra last year.
Within the span of a year, two of his close friends, both in their early 30s, had been diagnosed with cancer — and both were told their tumors had likely been developing for over a decade.
“I was struck by the fact that despite all the advances of modern medicine, you still have no idea what is happening inside your body,” he told Fox News Digital. “In a majority of cases, the onus is on the patient to realize something is wrong, at which point it is often too late for effective treatment.”
“It would not be an exaggeration to say my scan saved my life.”
After a short intake questionnaire, the patient was scheduled for an MRI at a nearby imaging center. The process took just over an hour.
“I had no reason for concern, it was just a screening — so I was very surprised to find that my scan turned up an alarmingly large brain tumor,” he said.
Early detection of the brain tumor allowed for intervention before it had progressed to an advanced stage, which would have required more aggressive treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation.
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“According to my medical team, it would likely have been another five to 10 years before symptoms — most likely a seizure — would have indicated the presence of the tumor,” he said.
“Had that been the case, I would have undergone emergency surgery.”
Instead, the patient had time to research top neurosurgery centers across the country and consult with multiple surgeons before scheduling his surgery.
He was also able to enroll in a clinical trial for a medication that has since proven successful — something he might have missed out on if he’d gotten the diagnosis later.
“Everyone should have the right to know what is going on in their body,” the patient said. “It would not be an exaggeration to say my scan saved my life.”
Unlike X-rays that use ionizing radiation, Ezra’s MRI technology uses magnetic resonance, Gal explained.
“You can do a scan every day for the rest of your life and you’ll be fine,” he said.
The one potential concern, however, is the risk of incidental findings.
If a scan picks up a red flag that is investigated and turns out to be nothing, it could result in an unnecessary biopsy.
“We’ve developed an entire framework to handle incidental findings,” Gal said. “Part of why we use AI to generate these reports is so that we can clearly explain to people what every single finding means and what should be done about it.”
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Ezra uses a scoring system that ranks every finding from 1 to 5, 1 being just informative and 5 being “emergent and urgent.”
Based on that rank, they determine whether someone should follow up on a finding.
Even for existing routine screenings, like mammograms, there is always the risk of false positives, Gal pointed out.
“From the data we have so far, we have a really, really low false positive rate — around 1%, which is probably even better than a mammogram or a lung scan,” he said.
The patient who discovered his brain tumor through an Ezra scan also flagged incidental findings as the sole risk.
“Full-body scans inevitably produce incidental findings, which may lead to additional testing,” he said. “These additional tests come with their own risks, stress and costs.”
“These additional tests come with their own risks, stress and costs.”
“As these screenings become more widespread and incidental findings more frequent, clinicians will need to become better at differentiating which findings require follow-up and which do not,” he added.
“The responsibility of the health care provider is to clarify and provide context for the information, explain their recommendations and then empower patients to make informed decisions about their own health.”
Creating a ‘virtuous cycle’
Until now, medical imaging has been primarily used to diagnose diseases after symptoms have already emerged — but Ezra aims to detect cancer well before that point, said Dr. Sodickson, chief of innovation in radiology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, who is also Ezra’s advisor and chief scientist.
“Such a shift requires that MRI be made more accessible — first financially and then technologically,” he said. “The FDA approval of Ezra Flash, which leverages AI to clear up rapid scans, is an important first step, since time is money in medical imaging.”
Meanwhile, as Ezra completes more scans over time, the system will “learn” to detect subtle changes earlier, preventing the false positive results that can plague one-shot screening studies, the doctor noted.
He added, “The goal is to initiate a virtuous cycle: Make imaging accessible in order to scan you more frequently, and scan more frequently in order to provide accurate monitoring of your health over time.”
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Ask a doc: ‘What should I know before getting a breast lift?’
A growing number of women are opting to reverse gravity by getting a surgical breast-lift procedure.
The prevalence of breast lifts has risen 70% since 2000 — twice the growth of breast implant surgery, according to new statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
“A breast lift — or ‘mastopexy’ — is a procedure in which excess skin is removed to tighten the breast envelope,” said New York-based plastic surgeon and breast reconstruction specialist Dr. Constance M. Chen in comments to Fox News Digital.
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“This also repositions the breast tissue and the nipple-areolar complex higher on the chest wall.”
Why do women opt for breast lifts?
All women’s breasts change with time and gravity, Chen noted.
“As women get older, it is typical and natural for the skin to lose elasticity and for the breasts to drop,” she said.
Breastfeeding is the biggest cause of this, she said; but occasionally some women who did not breastfeed may find that their breasts droop over time.
“Menopause is also a factor, because dense, glandular breast tissue is replaced by fat — and fatty tissue is softer and less firm,” Chen said.
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”If a woman is unhappy about sagging breasts, the only way to fix it is surgery,” the doctor said. “A well-fitted bra can provide support for a better look in clothes, but exercises to firm the underlying chest muscles won’t impact the breast tissue itself.”
In most cases, a mastopexy will not change the size of the breasts, even though the result may make the breasts appear fuller and rounder, according to Chen.
“In cases where a woman wants larger or smaller breasts, additional procedures such as augmentation or reduction can be done in conjunction with a breast lift,” she said.
Dr. Brian Reagan of CosmetiCare, who practices in San Diego, California, said many patients come to his practice for lifts after they have children — usually a few months post-breastfeeding.
“The breasts will change for months after breastfeeding, so we want to wait a minimum of three months,” he told Fox News Digital.
Types of breast lifts
There are several different mastopexy procedures depending on the degree of lift needed, Chen advised.
A “crescent lift” is the least invasive procedure. In this case, a crescent of skin at the top of the nipple-areolar complex is removed to improve the position of the nipple, Chen said.
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“The crescent lift is called for when the breasts are basically perky, but the woman wants her nipple-areolar complex adjusted upward slightly,” the doctor noted.
“In cases where a woman also wants bigger breasts, the crescent lift can be performed in conjunction with breast augmentation.”
A “Benelli lift” is also used to provide a small lift for barely drooping breasts.
“Here, a doughnut-shaped incision is made around the nipple-areolar complex, and the skin is tightened,” Chen said. “While this kind of breast lift is less invasive than a full lift, it can have the side effect of flattening the breast. An implant can be used to improve the projection of the breast.”
A “lollipop lift,” or a short-scar vertical mastopexy, is used when the breast tissue itself needs to be positioned higher on the chest wall, the doctor noted.
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“The short-scar vertical mastopexy refers to the limited scars around the nipple-areolar complex and then vertically to the fold below the breast, which looks like a lollipop,” Chen said. “In this procedure, more breast skin is removed, and the underlying breast tissue is repositioned to significantly change the breast shape and lift it up.”
Finally, an “anchor lift” — or the traditional Wise-pattern mastopexy — adds a horizontal scar along the crease below the breast to the same scars of the vertical mastopexy, which allows for reshaping and repositioning of the tissue.
“This is an older procedure used by older surgeons not trained in the vertical mastopexy, who are particularly prone to using it when there is significant sagging in large breasts,” Chen noted.
The vertical and the Wise-pattern mastopexies are both full breast lifts that are equally effective in creating a perkier, more youthful result, according to Chen.
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“The vertical mastopexy is also called the ‘short-scar mastopexy’ because it eliminates the horizontal scar in the inframammary fold,” she said. “It is an improvement on the anchor lift.”
She added, “The full mastopexy is the most commonly performed breast lift, because it is usually the appropriate technique for someone who wants a noticeable change to their breast appearance.”
Risks of breast lifts
Every plastic surgery procedure comes with some degree of risk — and breast lifts are no exception.
Reagan said the main risks associated with breast lifts are a decrease in nipple sensation, potential loss of tissue (including the nipple) and poor scarring.
Due to elevated risk, there are certain groups of people who are not good candidates for the procedure, he said.
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He advises against smokers getting a breast lift, for example.
“Actively smoking can cause delayed healing and possible open wounds,” Reagan said.
He recommends kicking the habit at least six to eight weeks prior to surgery.
People who have existing medical issues, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, are also not good candidates, the doctor warned.
“The ideal candidate is someone who is healthy, has no medical issues and has deflated, droopy breasts,” he said.
For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.
Broasted Chicken: All You Need For Crispy-Outside, Juicy-Inside Fried Chicken Is *This* Genius Lid Technique
When it comes to fried chicken, we’ve heard so many different tricks and family secrets for getting the crunchiest and juiciest bites, from soaking in buttermilk to using a special blend of seasonings. And here’s another twist that recently caught our attention: “broasting.” This method uses pressure cooking and deep-frying to cook every part of the chicken evenly. The result: fried chicken that’s less greasy, yet is still moist and coated in a deliciously crispy crust. It’s the secret behind so many restaurant’s amazing fried chicken, and while traditional broasting uses a one-of-a-kind machine that simultaneously steams and fries, you don’t need an appliance to create broasted-style chicken — simply using a sturdy skillet and lid will do the trick. Here’s the scoop on broasted chicken and an easy recipe to make the next time you’re craving this comfort food classic!
What it means when chicken is “broasted”
Broasting is different from traditional, open pan-frying methods as it involves a special pressure fryer (don’t worry, though, you don’t need this as you’ll learn below). Brian Jupiter, executive chef and owner of the restaurants Frontier and Ina Mae Tavern in Chicago, notes that this machine fries the chicken in a closed environment. This creates steam and pressure that seals in the meat’s juices. It also prevents sudden drops in oil temperature that could cause the chicken to become greasy. “Broasting pressurizes the chamber of frying oil, allowing temperatures to stay consistently high for a certain amount of time,” he explains. “This creates a lighter and even crisper texture on the chicken.”
Jupiter adds that broasting was invented by engineer L.A.M Phelan in the 1950s. He designed equipment that pressure-fried chicken quickly and thoroughly, and his machine was eventually mass-produced specifically for restaurants and fast food chains, where broasting remains a staple method for frying large batches of chicken. But, you don’t need a clunky and pricey broasting machine to achieve the same golden brown and succulent results at home.
How to mimic the broasting method
A key aspect of broasting is steam, which is generated when the fryer is covered and the pressurized settings are applied. Although it’s tricky to create that same level of pressure in a normal skillet, cookbook author Pam Anderson says you can mimic the method with just a lid. The trick: “As soon as I get all my chicken pieces in the skillet, I cover the skillet for the first half of cooking time, then uncover it for the second half.”.The lid traps in moisture and heat to steam the meat while helping maintain a consistent oil temperature. Removing it halfway through lets the skin get nice and crispy.
Food writer and biochemist Shirley Corriher also swears by covering the pan during the first half of the frying process. “Covering the skillet does make a racket, though — it’s the drops of condensed moisture dropping into the oil that create all that carrying-on,” she says. This is why it’s a good idea to have an oil shield like BergKoch’s Splatter Screen (Buy from Amazon, $10.99) handy to prevent grease from splattering and making cleanup more of a hassle.
Hungry for broasted-style chicken? If so, we’ve got the perfect recipe for you!
A delicious broasted-inspired chicken recipe
Our Southern Fried Chicken recipe takes inspiration from the broasting method to create moist dark and white meat. Additionally, this recipe coats the chicken in self-rising flour instead of all-purpose for an even crunchier crust. Clearly, this recipe has all the makings for a finger-licking batch of fried chicken that your crowd will love!
Southern Fried Chicken
- 2 qts. vegetables or canola oil
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 1 (3 to 4 lb.) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- Active: 30 mins
- Total time: 1 hr
- Yield: 6 servings
- In large pot or deep fryer, heat oil over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking, about 350°F. Place rack over large rimmed baking sheet.
- In small bowl, combine garlic powder, salt and pepper. In shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and hot sauce. Spread flour in shallow dish or pie pan.
- Heat oven to 200°F. Sprinkle all sides of chicken pieces with garlic mixture; dip each piece into egg mixture, letting excess drip off back into bowl, then coat with flour, shaking off excess.
- Place first batch of chicken in skillet, cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes. Remove lid, flip and cook another 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and internal temperature registers 165ºF. (Check chicken after 5 minutes; if browning too quickly, flip pieces and reduce heat to medium).
- Transfer cooked chicken to rack on baking sheet. Place baking sheet in oven to keep warm while frying remaining chicken. Serve with favorite sides and enjoy!
To whip up more hearty classics at home, check out the recipes below:
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