Star Trek Tricorder revisited: Toward a genre of medical scanners

January 4, 2012

A hand-held scanner, reminiscent of the fictional Star Trek medical Tricorder, images blood vessels through the skin and projects a map onto the skin showing nurses exactly where to insert a needle. A pocket-sized device checks blood sugar levels through the skin of people with diabetes — no pinprick or blood sample needed. Those innovations are among a new genre of medical imaging technology that's giving doctors and scientists noninvasive views into the body to diagnose and study diseases. A report on the topic appears in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

In the article, C&EN Contributing Editor Aaron Alexander Rowe focuses on new optical techniques that use laser beams or so-called near-infrared light to peer painlessly below the skin and through muscle and bone to see body structures. Near-infrared light, just beyond the range visible to the human eye, penetrates several inches into the human body. Two devices described in the article project a near-infrared beam into the skull. The light passes through brain tissue and blood vessels, and then scatters back out, where detectors analyze it in ways that promise to reveal whether patients are bleeding from a stroke or have other disorders.

The article explains that some of the new light-based medical diagnostic tools — the blood vessel mapper, for instance — already are in use in hospitals and clinics. Others are in various stages of pre-clinical development, including devices intended to spot skin cancer, monitor how breast cancer is responding to treatments and produce 3-D images of blockages in .

Explore further: Consumers' close encounters with nanoparticles

More information: Lights and Lasers Invade the Clinic, cen.acs.org/articles/90/i1/Lig … s-Invade-Clinic.html

Related Stories

Consumers' close encounters with nanoparticles

August 10, 2011
The most personal encounter that many consumers have had so far with the much-heralded field of nanotechnology is the topic of an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the American Chemical ...

Recommended for you

Image ordering often based on factors other than patient need: study

September 25, 2017
Do you really need that MRI?

Bone marrow concentrate improves joint transplants

September 25, 2017
Biologic joint restoration using donor tissue instead of traditional metal and plastic may be an option for active patients with joint defects. Although recovery from a biologic joint repair is typically longer than traditional ...

How ketogenic diets curb inflammation

September 25, 2017
Ketogenic diets – extreme low-carbohydrate, high-fat regimens that have long been known to benefit epilepsy and other neurological illnesses – may work by lowering inflammation in the brain, according to new research ...

Researchers develop treatment to reduce rate of cleft palate relapse complication

September 22, 2017
Young people with cleft palate may one day face fewer painful surgeries and spend less time undergoing uncomfortable orthodontic treatments thanks to a new therapy developed by researchers from the UCLA School of Dentistry. ...

Exosomes are the missing link to insulin resistance in diabetes

September 21, 2017
Chronic tissue inflammation resulting from obesity is an underlying cause of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. But the mechanism by which this occurs has remained cloaked, until now.

Thousands of new microbial communities identified in human body

September 20, 2017
A new study of the human microbiome—the trillions of microbial organisms that live on and within our bodies—has analyzed thousands of new measurements of microbial communities from the gut, skin, mouth, and vaginal microbiome, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.