Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Laser-Based Imaging for Early Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis

24.04.2002


Study Documents Imaging Technique’s Accuracy in Detecting the Course of Finger Joint Inflammation



Findings Indicate Need to Combine Laser Imaging with Other Diagnostic Tools


A team of specialists in laser medicine has developed an imaging technique with the potential to dramatically improve the early diagnosis and treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). According to the team’s study, which is published in the May 2002 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, this innovative laser-based technology can detect the course of finger joint inflammation in RA patients—with an accuracy rate of up to 83%.



A chronic, progressive disease, RA often leads to early disability and joint deformity. Recent studies have suggested that this devastating disease might well be prevented, or at least delayed, by early diagnosis and treatment. Given the widespread availability of effective therapeutic approaches, early diagnosis could change the quality of life for countless RA patients. Until now, conventional radiography has been the standard method of identifying destructive arthritis. This method, however, routinely overlooks early changes of erosion, the destructive process in cartilage and bone that can lead to deformity. While other imaging procedures, such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), offer possible alternatives for uncovering early evidence of arthritis and its progression, they have definite downsides. MRI can be costly and lacks standardization; ultrasound is time consuming and observers need training.

“The new laser imaging technique is easy to handle, inexpensive, and noninvasive,” attests research team leader Alexander K. Scheel. “It therefore has many advantages over conventional imaging and provides new information about joint status.”

The study was performed with an innovative laser device created by the Department of Medical Physics and Laser Medicine at the Free University of Berlin in cooperation with Siemens. Over a six-month period, 22 RA patients, ranging in age from 22 to 75 and representing both genders, committed to an ongoing examination of soft tissue changes and acute inflammation of their proximal finger joints. Positioned above the finger joint and working in conjunction with a sensitive camera, the laser device captured the optical characteristics of normal and inflamed joints then processed them through a picture software program. The inflammatory status of 60 of the 72 joints examined was classified correctly by laser imaging, confirmed through rigorous comparisons of hand radiographs and clinical evaluations. Researchers rated the laser technique 80% for sensitivity, 89% for specificity, and 83% for accuracy in detecting inflammatory changes in affected joints.

The results indicate that laser-based imaging can contribute significantly to diagnostic capabilities. Providing an affordable, accessible, and reproducible assessment of inflammatory joint changes, this unique imaging technique can help rheumatologists pinpoint RA of small finger joints and swiftly determine the most effective treatment.

Yet, Scheel and his team readily admit that laser imaging alone cannot replace other diagnostic methods. Although it can play a pivotal role in sensitive follow-up analysis of joint inflammation and provide important information about the response to medication, laser imaging, at this stage, only offers limited help for an individual diagnosis of early arthritis due to anatomic differences of the joint structures. Accurate diagnosis still depends on clinical examination, including measurements of joint circumference.

“Laser imaging may supplement our imaging armament and help us to better assess our arthritis patients,” Scheel observes. “However, additional studies with more patients and a comparison with other, established imaging techniques have to be performed before the overall usefulness of this new technology can be conclusively evaluated.”

Joanna Gibson | alphagalileo

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Deep stimulation improves cognitive control by augmenting brain rhythms
04.04.2019 | Picower Institute at MIT

nachricht Black nanoparticles slow the growth of tumors
04.04.2019 | Technische Universität München

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: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>