Dr. Marvin C. Ziskin received his MD from Temple University in 1962, and an MS in Biomedical Engineering from Drexel University in 1965. After his internship and some general practice, he joined the faculty of Temple University with appointments in radiology and medical physics in 1968, and is currently professor of radiology and medical physics. He is also director of Temple University's Center for Biomedical Physics.

Dr. Ziskin have been actively involved in ultrasound research for the past 35 years. In 1965, as a Research Associate in diagnostic ultrasound at Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia, he was one of the pioneers in the establishment of 2-D ultrasonography as a valuable diagnostic modality. In September, 1965, his laboratory was featured on the cover of Life magazine. Using a combined radiographic and through-transmission ultrasonic technique, heI established the nature of an echo source giving rise to false-positive results in the ultrasonic diagnosis of pericardial effusion.

His early studies at Temple University involved investigation of physiological meaningfulness of the Doppler signal. He developed a procedure for the detection of carotid arteries stenosis using Doppler ultrasound, and was the first to use ultrasound to detect the cavitation that occurs at catheter tips during rapid IV injections.

Because of concern about the safety of clinical ultrasound, Ziskin conducted an international survey of clinical users in 1971. The next year, he reported that no adverse effects attributed to examination by ultrasound had been identified by any of 68 respondents to the survey in over 121,000 patient examinations. The report represented a combined total of 292 institute-years of experience in the clinical use of diagnostic ultrasound.

In 1973, he investigated the safety of ophthalmological ultrasonography using New Zealand rabbits. In this study, 33.7 mW cm 22 continuous-wave ultrasound was directed to the left eye for durations of 1 hour and 4 hours. The right retina served as a control. No damage was observed from any of the exposures, as determined by meticulous microscopic examination by an ophthalmologic pathologist.

In 1977, Ziskin visited for 6 months the Acoustics Laboratory in Sydney, Australia. There, working with M. J. Edwards at the University of Sydney, he exposed pregnant guinea pigs on the 21st day of gestation to 1 MHz continuous-wave ultrasound at intensities ranging from 50 to 1100 mW cm 22 for a period of 1 hour. Internal body temperature was monitored with a thermocouple inserted into the rectum to the level of the uterus. Results showed a reduction in the brain:body weight ratio between control animals and those in which the internal temperature rose greater than 1°C; thus, reaffirming that reduction in brain weight of the newborn is the most sensitive indicator of biological damage known to result from gestational hyperthermia. Furthermore, he showed that the temperature elevation achieved internally was the most appropriate measure of the exposure dosage because intestinal gas situated between the pregnant uterus and the skin altered ultrasonic transmission to the uterus in an unpredictable way.

From February 1979 to January 1982, he was a co-investigator with Wesley L. Nyborg of the University of Vermont on an NIH grant entitled “Low intensity ultrasonic effects in mammalian tissue.” Douglas Miller was also a co-investigator on this grant. By subjecting various intact animals to slow pressurization and rapid decompression, they concluded that microbubbles (approximately 1 mm in diameter) existed within mammalian tissue, probably in small crevices between cells. They demonstrated several blood flow disturbances when bubbles in the blood were of “resonance size” to the pulse-repetition frequency of the insonating beam. Also, during this time, multicellular tumor spheroids were developed as an experimental model to test the ability of a ultrasound beam to dislodge cells from a tumor and induce metastasis. We showed that this would not occur if the SPTA intensity was less than 1 W cm 22.

For a number of years, he studied the effects of image display format on diagnostic accuracy, and on the creation of ultrasound display artefacts. He pioneered the term the “comet tail artefact,” a reverberant type echo complex found distal to a highly reflective structure. The term “comet tail echo” has caught on and has become a frequently used term in the vocabulary of ultrasonographers.

Dr. Marvin Ziskin has been a member of the AIUM Bioeffects Committee since its inception in 1973, and a member of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Committee no. 66, under the chairmanship of Wesley L. Nyborg, ever since its inception in 1980. He has been Chairman of the WFUMB Committee on Ultrasound Safety since 1985 and, in this capacity, have organized a number of international symposia on ultrasound bioeffects and clinical safety. In 1982–1984, Ziskin served as President of AIUM and in June 2000 was elected President Elect of WFUMB, to assume the presidency in 2003.

As Chairman of the AIUM Ultrasound Terminology Subcommittee, he played an important role in developing the AIUM publication entitled, “Recommended ultra-sound terminology” (AIUM 1997); it is already in its second edition. As a member of the AIUM Technical Standards Committee, he developed a statistical method of expressing uncertainty in the measurement of the outputs of ultrasonic instruments. Ziskin has taken an active part as an American delegate to the International Electrotechnical Commission, in which he become the project leader on ultrasound terminology, and have been the Chairman of the Working Group on biophysical effects of ultrasound.

Dr. Ziskin served as associate editor for the Journal of Clinical Ultrasound (the original official journal of the AIUM) from 1979 to 1982, and then as associate editor for the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine (JUM), which has been AIUM's official journal since 1982. He was also editor for Reflections, which was AIUM's newsmagazine from 1979 to 1982. During his first year as president, the official AIUM journal became the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine (JUM). Dr. Ziskin has been the author or coauthor of over 200 scientific publications and a co-editor of 4 books. He was recipient of the AIUM's Presidential Recognition Award in both 1979 and 1986 and the William J. Fry Memorial Lecture Award in 1993.

Excepted in part from "Biological Effects of Ultrasound: Development of Safety Guidelines Part 1: Personal Histories". by Wesley L. Nyborg. in Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology, Vol. 26, No. 6, pp. 911–964, 2000.

Picture of Dr. Ziskin courtesy of AIUM.

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