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In this paper we describe the principles and the design issues of MEDIARAD, a platform-independent user-oriented programming environment for developing imaging applications in radiology. The development of such system is motivated by the significant increase, during the last few years, of the demand for computerized medical imaging systems in radiology. This increase is due mainly to the advent of newer imaging modalities, such as magnetic resonance or computerized tomography, as well as to the activation of several radiological Screening Programs for early diagnosis of cancer in most western Countries. MEDIARAD should be useful at least to four different types of users: 1) physicians and radiologists who are the basic users and simply want a computer-aided detection (CAD) system in order to receive help in the diagnostic process; 2) Computer Vision researchers and software developers who look for suitable tools to easily and effortless build their own CAD applications; 3) computer trained physicians, who might want to interact with the system in order to personalize and improve it, and 4) researchers interested mainly in testing specific algorithms during the development and evaluation stages which lead to building a specific imaging application. MEDIARAD has already been used to build a CAD system for detecting clusters of breast microcalcifications in digitized mammograms.