A Tribute to Ilydio Polachini

Ilydio Polachini , MD,  died suddenly, June 29, 2001 while on vacation with his wife Bea. He was the medical director of neuroimaging at Kalamazoo Neurologic Institute since 1989. Ilydio was a leader in MR imaging for 15 years and was past president of the American Society of Neuroimaging. He was active at the American Academy of Neurology for 20 years, having served as chairman of the neuroimaging course for 5 years.  He appeared on many programs as an expert in various areas of imaging including MRA, spectroscopy, stroke and spine disease.  In addition he has published widely in the field, including two chapters in a successful textbook of neuroimaging. 

He devised many protocols for the Phillips company and helped in the development of their MRA program. He spoke to groups all over the world, including the Brazilian Radiologic Society and other societies in Europe and North and South America. He visited his family in Brazil frequently and was able to send images from Kalamazoo by satellite to his home in Rio Preto, Brazil where he read the studies just after they were done in Kalamazoo.

He was a graduate of Rio de Janeiro state university of medical sciences and completed residencies at the Dent Neurological Institute in Buffalo, NY and at the State University of New York. In 1983, he won the Oldendorf award for his work on white matter.  For the past 3 years, he has written the neuroimaging questions for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. 

Ilydio was a great and loyal friend. We spoke on the telephone every week. We often traded jokes, and he had an endearing way of laughing most heartily after he delivered one of his own. He was a gifted and passionate teacher and was always available to explain the intricacies and mystery of the computer. 

We gave seminars together with Rob Bakshi all over the country and everyone was amazed at his depth and breadth of knowledge of physics. He could look at a poor MRI study and tell the technologists that they did not need a new machine; instead he could devise protocols and give suggestions that would make the study beautiful. He understood his machine like nobody else. Some of the country’s top neuroradiologists would express their amazement at his abilities in the technical field. Little did they know that the only formal physics training he had was a night class at Western Michigan State College.  He took this course while he directed the Kalamazoo Neuroimaging Institute with his dear friend, Dr. Azzam Kanaan. Together, they built a cutting edge operation with eight scanners servicing the southern half of Michigan. 

He was very generous. He recently insisted that I obtain cable modem so I could tap into his huge data base in Michigan for interesting cases.   He also set up an MRI center in his home town, Rio Preto, Brazil and taught the physicians how to read and over read them. Recently, he participated as faculty in a course in spectroscopy for his friend and mentor, Brian Ross. The participants, all radiologists, voted Ilydio as the best teacher. 

He leaves behind a lovely young wife, Bea, 3 wonderful children, and devoted parents and siblings.  We are all diminished by his untimely death at the age of 48.  A giant has left the stage but thank god we were there to see and touch him. 

Jack Greenberg, MD
Philadelphia, PA
June 29, 2001

Ilydio Polachini Memorial Fund

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