Shalom Life | July 25, 2014

Israeli Technology Replaces Needles with High-Res Images in Blood Test

New device shines light on skin, reveals same information as traditional blood test

By: NoCamels Team

Published: May 28th, 2012 in Health » Israel

Israeli Technology Replaces Needles with High-Res Images in Blood Test

Blood tests convey vital medical information, but the sight of a needle often causes anxiety and results take time. A new device developed by a team of researchers in Israel, however, can reveal much the same information as traditional blood test in real-time, simply by shining a light through the skin.

This optical instrument, no bigger than a breadbox, is able to provide high-resolution images of blood coursing through our veins without the need for harsh and short-lived fluorescent dyes.

“We have invented a new optical microscope that can see individual blood cells as they flow inside our body,” says Lior Golan, a graduate student in the biomedical engineering department at the Israel Institute of Technology, or Technion, and one of the authors on a paper describing the device that is published in the Optical Society’s (OSA) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express.

Spoting warning signs

By eliminating a long wait-time for blood test results, the new microscope might help spot warning signs, like high white blood cell count, before a patient develops severe medical problems. The portability of the device could also enable doctors in rural areas without easy access to medical labs to screen large populations for common blood disorders, Golan notes.

Using the new microscope, the researchers imaged the blood flowing through a vessel in the lower lip of a volunteer. They successfully measured the average diameter of the red and white blood cells and also calculated the percent volume of the different cell types, a key measurement for many medical diagnoses.

Relying on light beams

The device relies on a technique called spectrally encoded confocal microscopy (SECM), which creates images by splitting a light beam into its constituent colors. The colors are spread out in a line from red to violet. To scan blood cells in motion, a probe is pressed against the skin of a patient and the rainbow-like line of light is directed across a blood vessel near the surface of the skin. As blood cells cross the line they scatter light, which is collected and analyzed. The color of the scattered light carries spatial information, and computer programs interpret the signal over time to create 2-D images of the blood cells.

Currently, other blood-scanning systems with cellular resolution do exist, but they are far less practical, relying on bulky equipment or potentially harmful fluorescent dyes that must be injected into the bloodstream.

“An important feature of the technique is its reliance on reflected light from the flowing cells to form their images, thus avoiding the use of fluorescent dyes that could be toxic,” Golan says. “Since the blood cells are in constant motion, their appearance is distinctively different from the static tissue surrounding them.” The team’s technique also takes advantage of the one-way flow of cells to create a compact probe that can quickly image large numbers of cells while remaining stationary against the skin.

At first, the narrow field of view of the microscope made it difficult for the team to locate suitable capillary vessels to image. To solve this, the researchers added a green LED and camera to the system to provide a wider view in which the blood vessels appeared dark because hemoglobin absorbs green light. “Unfortunately, the green channel does not help in finding the depth of the blood vessel,” notes Golan. “Adjusting the imaging depth of the probe for imaging a small capillary is still a challenge we will address in future research.”

Upgrading the device

The researchers are also working on a second generation system with higher penetration depth. The new system might expand the range of possible imaging sites beyond the inside lip, which was selected as a test site since it was rich in blood vessels, has no pigment to block light, and doesn’t lose blood flow in trauma patients.

Additional steps include work to miniaturize the system for ease of transport and use. “Currently, the probe is a bench-top laboratory version about the size of a small shoebox,” says Golan. “We hope to have a thumb-size prototype within the next year.”

This article is reprinted with permission from NoCamels.

Israeli Surgeons Treat Palestinian Girl While Under Fire Israeli Surgeons Treat Palestinian Girl While Under Fire TrendingRadiation Therapy Is About to get Much Kinder Radiation Therapy Is About to get Much Kinder TrendingPalestinians Continue to Receive Medical Care in Israel Palestinians Continue to Receive Medical Care in Israel Trending
 

Lena Dunham and Andy Samberg Team Up For HBO Mockumentary

July 25, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Lena Dunham and Andy Samberg Team Up For HBO Mockumentary

The 'Girls' and 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' stars will appear in an upcoming sports mockumentary.

Read More

Joan Rivers Staunchly Defends Israel, Insults Selena Gomez [VIDEO]

July 25, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Joan Rivers Staunchly Defends Israel, Insults Selena Gomez [VIDEO]

The controversial comedian slammed Gomez for her #PrayForGaza tweet

Read More

The Ten Best Seinfeld Memes

July 25, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau & Daniel Koren
The Ten Best Seinfeld Memes

We look at some of the most entertaining memes inspired by the iconic TV show

Read More

Jesse Eisenberg Feels Safe In Israel, Calls It "A Wonderful Country"

July 25, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
Jesse Eisenberg Feels Safe In Israel, Calls It "A Wonderful Country"

The 'Social Network' star recently visited for a Q&A at Beit Lessin Theatre

Read More

James Franco Outs His Brother Dave, Tells Internet He's Dating Zac Efron

July 25, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
James Franco Outs His Brother Dave, Tells Internet He's Dating Zac Efron

The 'Neighbors' co-stars are apparently in a serious relationship, according to a very unreliable gossip site

Read More

Guess what Canada? Daniel Radcliffe is Stuck Here Due To Visa Issues

July 25, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
Guess what Canada? Daniel Radcliffe is Stuck Here Due To Visa Issues

Torontonians should be on the look out for the former 'Harry Potter' star

Read More

Shia LaBeouf Arrives in Court For 'Cabaret' Incident

July 25, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
Shia LaBeouf Arrives in Court For 'Cabaret' Incident

The former 'Transformers' actor appeared unshaven in a suit to face charges for criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and harassment

Read More

Cupcake Truck Calls Israelis "Zionist Pigs"

July 25, 2014 | By Hugh Holt
Cupcake Truck Calls Israelis "Zionist Pigs"

New York-based Cupcake Crew, a finalist on Cupcake Wars, tweet some rather offensive comments

Read More

More Headlines