Noninvasive medical diagnostics using lights and lasers for medical tricorder technology

A pocket-sized device checks blood sugar levels through the skin of people with diabetes — no pinprick or blood sample needed. This is an example of new medical imaging technology that’s giving doctors and scientists noninvasive views into the body to diagnose and study diseases. Strategies Unlimited projects that the optical molecular imaging market will double between 2010 and 2014, reaching into the $400 million range.

Infraredx, a Massachusetts-based company, has developed a diffuse optical spectroscopy instrument that relies on a fiber-optic probe that can be threaded into blood vessels. The device can collect both ultrasound images and diffuse reflectance spectroscopy data, which cardiologists can use to pinpoint lipid core plaques within blood vessels. Because the optic probe operates at near-infrared wavelengths, it can ‘see’ straight through blood, a problem that confounds other intravascular imaging methods.

TVC Imaging System is a first-in-class intravascular imaging system with the unique ability to assess vessel composition and structure via integrated NIRS (near infrared spectroscopy) lipid core plaque detection and enhanced IVUS imaging technology.

Researchers at the Center for Earth Science Studies, in India, were able to diagnose several forms of oral cancer in a cohort of 96 patients using a spectral scanner of buccal mucosa.

The AccuVein scanner acquires a near-infrared image of hemoglobin to find thick blood vessels and then projects a red map directly onto the skin, showing nurses where to stick a needle. It is currently in use in more than 1,000 hospitals.
Credit: Aaron Rowe

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