Today, doctors who really want to see if a wound is healing have to do a biopsy or some other invasive technique that, besides injuring an already injured patient, can really only offer information about a small area.
But a technology called hyperspectral imaging offers doctors a noninvasive, painless way to discriminate between healthy and diseased tissue and reveal how well damaged tissue is healing over a wide area. The catch? A lack of calibration standards is impeding its use.
NIST researchers are gathering skin reflectance data to establish the variation found in human tissue in order to develop reference standards for hyperspectral imaging applications. The top image shows skin as normally viewed. At bottom are the same images with enhanced contrast in false color to show the variability between subjects.
Credit: Cooksey, Allen/NIST
After a successful non-human trial, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have started gathering data on how human skin looks under various wavelengths of light in order to develop these badly needed standards.*
Unlike consumer digital cameras and the human eye, which only see red, green and blue light, a relatively narrow portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, each pixel of a hyperspectral image captures information for hundreds of narrow spectral bands—from the ultraviolet to the infrared.
According to NIST researcher David Allen, being sensitive to so many wavelengths means hyperspectral imagers can see many different things that humans can't see, including the amount of oxygen in human tissues, an indicator of healing.
"The potential of the technology has been proven, but the problem is that researchers are simply lacking a way to assure consistent results between labs," says Allen. "Standards development has itself been hindered by a lack of human skin reflectance data, especially in the ultraviolet and short-wave infrared."
Catherine Cooksey, the project leader for the spectrophotometry program that establishes and maintains the national scale of reflectance, says that before we delve into what diseased tissue looks like hyperspectrally, we need to know what so-called "normal" tissue looks like.
Furthermore, she says that they are looking to quantify the variability both within an individual and between individuals due to inherent biological differences. The initial NIST studies used 28 volunteer test subjects. The data collected included a photograph of the test area on the subject's forearm and three reflectance measurements of the test area.
"Skin reflectance varies due to skin pigmentation, tissue density, lipid content and blood volume changes," says Cooksey. "And few, if any, studies of skin reflectance have been done with an estimated measurement uncertainty that is traceable to NIST or any other national metrology institute. We need good data from a wide variety of sources, and for that we need the help of our colleagues in the community."
Once they collect enough data, the NIST researchers can feed it into NIST's Hyperspectral Image Projector, a device that creates hyperspectral scenes that have all the spectral signatures of the real thing—in this case, tissue in various stages of repair. Medical imaging technicians can then use these "digital tissue phantoms" to test their imagers' ability to discern among and detect different tissue types and conditions.
*C.C. Cooksey, B.K. Tsai and D.W. Allen. "A collection and statistical analysis of skin reflectance signatures for inherent variability over the 250 nm to 2500 nm spectral range." Presented at the SPIE Defense, Security & Sensing Conference, June 4, 2014, Baltimore, Md.
Mark Esser | Eurek Alert!
Can radar replace stethoscopes?
14.08.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Novel PET imaging method could track and guide therapy for type 1 diabetes
03.08.2018 | Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur
What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
25.07.2018 | Event News
15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences
15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy