Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Slice of Life - a new technique to scan the human body

04.09.2003




A team of scientists and engineers from the Institute of Food Research and Lancaster University are developing a quick, safe and non-invasive scanner to measure the composition of the human body.

The prototype scanner, featured in the latest edition of New Scientist, uses two imaging techniques to simultaneously build a 3D image of the subject’s shape, and get under the skin to measure body composition.

“Techniques exist for measuring body shape and composition separately, but we are developing a system to put them together in one scanning cubicle with a sensor ring that takes just 20 seconds to scan the whole body. Using an electromagnetic technique to analyse body composition could also enable us to work out the distribution of fat and water, providing a safe and cheap alternative to using X-rays or MRI scanners”, says Dr Henri Tapp of the Institute of Food Research.



Body composition is an indicator of an individual’s nutritional status and health. Regular scans could be used to monitor child development, pregnancy, recovery from injury or surgery and changes during diet and exercise regimes. Anthropometric measures of body shape, such as android (‘apple-shaped’) and gynoid (‘pear-shaped’) fat distributions can be related to health risks such as heart disease. “In addition to clinical applications, our system could become a feature of leisure centres, allowing clients to see how their shape and composition changes through exercise”, says Dr Tapp.

The specially designed scanning cubicle is fitted with four digital cameras and eight light projectors to map the surface contours of the body, to give body volume. An array of coils is used to map the internal electrical conductivity, to give water content. The camera and coils are fitted to a sliding sensor ring, designed to scan the whole body as a series of horizontal ‘slices’.

“Our prototype has demonstrated the feasibility of adopting this approach. The next stage is to develop a prototype system leading to clinical trials and validation of the technology, which we hope to pursue with commercial partners", says Dr Tony Peyton, from the Engineering Department of Lancaster University.

The detailed explanation

The prototype scanner uses two imaging techniques to predict the amount of fat present. The system uses coils to map the internal conductivity of the body, to give the amount of water. Digital cameras are used to accurately map the surface contours to give body volume.

Either water or volume can be used with body mass to predict fat. However, combining all three gives a better estimate - by compensating for changes in hydration. An added bonus of this new approach is that it also measures the shape of the body, and that it may also be able to give regional estimates of fat content such as in the limbs and torso, or the amount of surface and internal fat.

The scanner has the coils and cameras mounted on a ring that sweeps past the subject as they stand in a cubicle to build up a picture of the body as a series of horizontal ’’slices’’. In comparison, a commercially available device measures only volume - from the amount of air displaced by a person placed within a sealed chamber. Similarly, you can also buy bathroom scales fitted with electrodes that predict fat, from estimating the water content based on the conductivity of the body.

The current stage of development of the prototype, which was funded as part of an EU project, BodyLife, is currently being presented at the 3rd World Congress on Industrial Process Tomography in Banff, Canada, 2-5 September 2003.

What is new:
  • New application for MIT – a feat because of low conductivity of human body.

  • Combining 2 imaging methods: MIT (for mapping internal conductivity) and photonic scanning (for external surface contours - shape and surface area). Neither of these measurements has been developed for measuring body composition before (a photonic scanning system was developed for the fashion industry, and attempts were made to use it to measure volume, but it was too inaccurate to be useful).

The bullet point version:

Firsts:

  • First MIT system built for body composition.
  • First Photonic Scanning system built for body composition (to our knowledge).
  • First system to measure both volume and water at same time.

Advantages of this approach:

  • Also gets shape information – such as surface area
  • Photonic scanning helps in MIT image reconstruction
  • Shape with spatial conductivity information gives improvement on existing electrical techniques
  • Can include knowledge of electrical tissue properties and anatomy in modelling the body
  • Quick, safe, non-ionising – suitable for field use, and for repeated measurements over time (to study growth, recovery from surgery or injury, effects of diet and exercise regimes)

Zoe Dunford | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ifr.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Lung images of twins with asthma add to understanding of the disease
06.12.2019 | University of Western Ontario

nachricht Between Arousal and Inhibition
06.12.2019 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Developing a digital twin

University of Texas and MIT researchers create virtual UAVs that can predict vehicle health, enable autonomous decision-making

In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location...

Im Focus: The coldest reaction

With ultracold chemistry, researchers get a first look at exactly what happens during a chemical reaction

The coldest chemical reaction in the known universe took place in what appears to be a chaotic mess of lasers. The appearance deceives: Deep within that...

Im Focus: How do scars form? Fascia function as a repository of mobile scar tissue

Abnormal scarring is a serious threat resulting in non-healing chronic wounds or fibrosis. Scars form when fibroblasts, a type of cell of connective tissue, reach wounded skin and deposit plugs of extracellular matrix. Until today, the question about the exact anatomical origin of these fibroblasts has not been answered. In order to find potential ways of influencing the scarring process, the team of Dr. Yuval Rinkevich, Group Leader for Regenerative Biology at the Institute of Lung Biology and Disease at Helmholtz Zentrum München, aimed to finally find an answer. As it was already known that all scars derive from a fibroblast lineage expressing the Engrailed-1 gene - a lineage not only present in skin, but also in fascia - the researchers intentionally tried to understand whether or not fascia might be the origin of fibroblasts.

Fibroblasts kit - ready to heal wounds

Im Focus: McMaster researcher warns plastic pollution in Great Lakes growing concern to ecosystem

Research from a leading international expert on the health of the Great Lakes suggests that the growing intensity and scale of pollution from plastics poses serious risks to human health and will continue to have profound consequences on the ecosystem.

In an article published this month in the Journal of Waste Resources and Recycling, Gail Krantzberg, a professor in the Booth School of Engineering Practice...

Im Focus: Machine learning microscope adapts lighting to improve diagnosis

Prototype microscope teaches itself the best illumination settings for diagnosing malaria

Engineers at Duke University have developed a microscope that adapts its lighting angles, colors and patterns while teaching itself the optimal...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The Future of Work

03.12.2019 | Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Solving the mystery of carbon on ocean floor

06.12.2019 | Earth Sciences

Chip-based optical sensor detects cancer biomarker in urine

06.12.2019 | Life Sciences

A platform for stable quantum computing, a playground for exotic physics

06.12.2019 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>