Dr. Frank Prato becomes the first Canadian to receive D’Arsonval Award

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dr. Frank Prato, professor in the Departments of Medical Imaging and Medical Biophysics, has received the 2013 D'Arsonval Award, the highest scientific honour of the international Bioelectromagnetics Society (BEMS).

Dr. Prato is the Imaging Program leader and assistant scientific director at Lawson Health Research Institute and Chief Medical Physicist at St. Joseph's Health Care London. The award recognizes extraordinary accomplishment within the discipline of bioelectromagnetics - the study of how electromagnetic fields interact with and influence biological processes. Only given 14 times in the last 27 years at the discretion of the BEMS board of directors, the award is for exceptional scientific accomplishments or practical application of electromagnetic fields for human benefit. Dr. Prato is the first Canadian to receive this award.

Among Dr. Prato's landmark discoveries is how magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to view the extent of permanent heart muscle damage caused by a heart attack. This method is now used extensively throughout Canada and the rest of the world. He also discovered that exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields can induce analgesia - pain relief - in humans. The nuclear medicine medical physicist is currently exploiting these discoveries to develop image-guided therapies to treat heart disease and to treat pain.

In February 2012, Dr. Prato was instrumental in acquiring Canada's first whole body PET/MRI for Lawson and St. Joseph's. The machine is now being used by researchers to help improve diagnosis and treatment of such major health challenges as heart disease, neurological diseases, mental illness and cancer.

On June 14, Dr. Prato gave the D'Arsonval Lecture at the BEMS Annual Meeting in Thessaloniki, Greece where he received the award.

Dr. Prato has also been appointed to the 2013 expert panel established by the Royal Society of Canada to review Safety Code 6, Health Canada's guidelines for human exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic energy.