Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


German Researchers Develop First Non-Invasive Test to Measure Skin Aging

Physicists and medical researchers for the first time have demonstrated a new technique that non-invasively measures in real time the level of damage to the skin from sun exposure and aging, and initial results suggest that women’s skin ages faster than men’s. Findings appear in the October 1 issue of Optics Letters, a journal of the Optical Society of America.

This new laser-based technique images the fabric of the deeper layers of the skin, combining methods for imaging collagen and elastin, whose degeneration causes the appearance of wrinkles and the progressive loss of skin smoothness.

The technique measures relative amounts of collagen and elastin by a single factor, which can be positive or negative, like temperatures. Higher values of the factor correspond to higher collagen content, and to lower elastin content. Previously, each of the imaging techniques had only been tested on tissue extracted from live patients. Last year, Sung-Jan Lin, of National Taiwan University in Taipei, and collaborators, defined the collagen/elastin factor and demonstrated that it gave results consistent with the results of existing lab techniques.

In the new paper, researchers at Friedrich Schiller University, in Jena, Germany, at the Fraunhofer Institute of Biomedical Technology, in St. Ingbert, Germany, and at JenLab GmbH, a Jena-based laser technology company, tested the technique directly on the forearms of 18 patients, measuring the collagen/elastin factor. The team was also able to obtain images of tiny swaths -- one-fifth of a millimeter wide -- of the proteins' fibrous matrices, showing the physical appearance of the dermis, the white lower-layer of skin that gets exposed in deep abrasions.

Large variations appeared from patient to patient, and even from one part of a patient's forearm to another. “In a healthy 35-year-old, some areas can appear like the skin of a 25-year-old, and others like that of someone who's 50,” said Johannes Koehler, a dermatologist at Friedrich Schiller University and a coauthor of the Optics Letters paper. But on average, both the collagen/elastin factor and the physical appearance of the network showed a clear dependence on the patients' age. The dependence appeared to be sex-dependent, with women's skin losing collagen at faster rates than men's.

The two methods combined in the imaging technique use the ability of ultra-brief pulses of laser infrared light to stimulate tissues to emit light at shorter wavelengths -- blue in the case of collagen, and green in the case of elastin. Since the upper layer of the skin, called the epidermis, is virtually transparent to infrared light, the infrared laser can reach the dermis with intense pulses of light without damaging the upper layers. By two different quantum processes, collagen and elastin will then respond by glowing blue and green.

Currently, dermatologists who want to check out the collagen network of a patient's dermis need to remove a sample of tissue and analyze it in the lab, under a microscope or by other methods. In particular, it is impossible to monitor variations in the very same spot as aging progresses. “You would like to measure changes in collagen content over time,” Dr. Koehler said. “Moreover, current techniques provide a qualitative assessment of the state of the matrix, but no precise measure of the collagen or of the elastin content, which is what the new technique does,” he said.

Although the technique is still at the experimental stage, the authors hope that someday it could become useful in studying skin diseases that affect the collagen structure. Those include scleroderma, a poorly understood disease characterized by excessive deposits of collagen in the skin, and some chronic complications of graft-versus-host disease, which occur when the tissues of bone marrow transplant patients are attacked by immune cells coming from the donor. “Perhaps the technique could help monitor the progress of the disease, or the success of a treatment,” Dr. Koehler said. Testing the effectiveness of anti-aging cosmetic products could also become easier. “Some cosmetics are thought to change the content of collagen in the skin,” Dr. Koehler said, “but until now, to measure that you had to cut out a piece of skin.”

Ben Stein | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>