Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Thermometer for the 21st Century

In medical science, diagnostic measurements of activity within the body tend to be represented as averages. Key metrics such as heart rate, blood pressure and respiration are typically recorded as mean values.

The Nonlinear Biomedical Physics group at Lancaster University is exploring new non-invasive techniques which monitor oscillations within the body.

One application, being explored is the Endotheliometer. This new device which measures activity within the endothelium – a layer of cells which coat the inside of every blood vessel in the body. The condition of the endothelium is a general guide to overall health of the body in addition to specific diagnostic uses. The endotheliometer itself is non-invasive and painless when in use. This ease of use combined with the wide range of information it captures give this device the potential to become a commonplace tool for monitoring physiological health – a new thermometer for the 21st century.

The new device is being developed by Professor Aneta Stefanovska and Dr Bernjack at Lancaster University. Their approach of modelling physiological systems within the body has lead to a number of other applications including clinical studies of Hypertension, Congestive heart failure and Diabetes mellitus. Their work also includes studies of bodily states including the depth of anesthesia, response to exercise and breath holding. Future work planned by the group includes clinical studies of Cancer, Autism and brain dynamics.

by Shane Turner via