Prototype equipment can detect rheumatoid arthritis

September 28, 2017, University of Twente
Credit: University of Twente

According to a first clinical study published in the scientific journal Photoacoustics, the University of Twente and various European partners have designed a device that shows the difference between healthy fingers and arthritic fingers. The University of Twente and Ziekenhuis Groep Twente researchers responsible for the development of the compact device believe that it may in time help doctors to objectively diagnose the degree of inflammation in joints.

Several years ago, researchers from the University of Twente joined forces with a number of companies to develop a prototype for a machine that would combine and photoacoustics medical imaging techniques. Combining these techniques allows specialists to create images of superficial areas of the body that can offer doctors a wealth of useful information. The idea behind the was to eventually use it to diagnose arthritis and determine the severity of burns, skin cancer and hardening of the arteries.

Clinical study

In the first clinical study, the researchers demonstrate that the device is able to clearly show the difference between arthritic and healthy joints. Researcher Pim van den Berg explains: "The signal we measured in arthritic fingers was four to ten times stronger than in healthy fingers." Mr Van den Berg says this means the device is able to work at least as well as .

Seventeen test subjects participated in the study and researchers were able to successfully demonstrate that this device can in fact be used to diagnose inflamed joints. The researchers expect that the device may also be used in future to determine the degree of inflammation, which they hope to be able to show after a number of improvements have been made that are currently in the pipeline. Diagnoses become more objective because patients no longer have to depend solely on human observation.

Ultrasound technology and photoacoustics are two medical imaging techniques that complement each other well. Where ultrasound offers images of structures, photoacoustics generates images that contain more functional information, such as where blood is located.

In photoacoustics, short are emitted into a patient's body. When these laser pulses hit a blood vessel, for example, they cause a small increase in pressure that moves through the body like a sound wave and can be measured on the skin. In ultrasound imaging, the sound is transmitted into the body, where it bounces off of various tissues in a variety of ways and produces waves that can also be detected on the skin.

Explore further: Handy device scans beneath the skin

More information: Pim J. van den Berg et al. Feasibility of photoacoustic/ultrasound imaging of synovitis in finger joints using a point-of-care system, Photoacoustics (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.pacs.2017.08.002

Related Stories

Handy device scans beneath the skin

January 19, 2017
In collaboration with various companies, scientists at Mira Research Institute have recently developed a prototype for a handheld device that combines ultrasound technology with photoacoustics.

Detecting arthritis with light

November 3, 2015
Joint inflammation (arthritis) is a common problem in medical practice and can be due to a variety of causes. Many types of inflammatory disorders affecting the joints belong to the diverse group of rheumatic diseases. The ...

Recommended for you

New osteoarthritis genes discovered

March 19, 2018
In the largest study of its kind, nine novel genes for osteoarthritis have been discovered by scientists from the Wellcome Sanger Institute and their collaborators. Results of the study, published today (19 March) in Nature ...

Rheumatoid arthritis meets precision medicine

March 19, 2018
Scientists are bringing precision medicine to rheumatoid arthritis for the first time by using genetic profiling of joint tissue to see which drugs will work for which patients, reports a new Northwestern Medicine multi-site ...

Scientists use nanotechnology to detect molecular biomarker for osteoarthritis

March 12, 2018
For the first time, scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have been able to measure a specific molecule indicative of osteoarthritis and a number of other inflammatory diseases using a newly developed technology.

Biological engineers discover why a promising drug failed in clinical trials

March 7, 2018
Pharmaceutical companies once considered a protein called p38 a very attractive target for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis patients usually have elevated activity of this inflammation-producing protein, and in lab ...

Scorpion venom component can reduce severity of rheumatoid arthritis

February 26, 2018
A treatment that improves the lives of nearly 1.3 million people with rheumatoid arthritis might one day originate from scorpion venom. A group of researchers led by Dr. Christine Beeton at Baylor College of Medicine has ...

New device for low-cost single-cell analysis identifies fibroblast subtypes in rheumatoid arthritis patients

February 23, 2018
Single-cell analysis holds enormous potential to study how individual cells influence disease and respond to treatment, but the lack of cost-effective and user-friendly instrumentation remains challenging. As described in ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Sep 28, 2017
Likely dis-biosis is a contributing factor - mass production of food & contamination. Microbes and chemicals.

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.