Shalom Life | October 21, 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 Study Says Diet Soda Can Lead to Diabetes and Obesity Israeli Study Says Diet Soda Can Lead to Diabetes and Obesity TrendingIsraeli Hospital Treats Hamas Leader's Daughter Israeli Hospital Treats Hamas Leader's Daughter TrendingMark Zuckerberg Donates $25 Million to Ebola Research Mark Zuckerberg Donates $25 Million to Ebola Research Trending
 

Sleater-Kinney is Back Together After 10 Years

October 20, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Sleater-Kinney is Back Together After 10 Years

The band is releasing their first album since 2005 and going on tour.

Read More

The Nosh Pit: Vegan Soups and Stews

October 20, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
The Nosh Pit: Vegan Soups and Stews

What's better than comforting and healthy soups and stews on these damp and rainy days?

Read More

Jerry Seinfeld Honors Jay Leno, Wonders Where His Mark Twain Prize Is

October 20, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Jerry Seinfeld Honors Jay Leno, Wonders Where His Mark Twain Prize Is

Seinfeld was one of many comedians that celebrated the former 'Tonight Show' host

Read More

'The Real Housewives of New York' Welcomes Back Bethenny Frankel

October 20, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
'The Real Housewives of New York' Welcomes Back Bethenny Frankel

The Skinnygirl founder will be returning for the seventh season of the popular reality series.

Read More

Known for Chemistry, Israeli Nobel Laureate Also Champions Tech Entrepreneurship

October 20, 2014 | By Alina Dain Sharon, JNS.org
Known for Chemistry, Israeli Nobel Laureate Also Champions Tech Entrepreneurship

Dan Shechtman, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and a candidate in last June's Israeli presidential election, has long championed technological entrepreneurship and its potential to improve lives around the world

Read More

Israeli Study Says Diet Soda Can Lead to Diabetes and Obesity

October 20, 2014 | By NoCamels Team
Israeli Study Says Diet Soda Can Lead to Diabetes and Obesity

Is this the reason why diet soda drinkers are often overweight?

Read More

Report Claims Nazi War Criminals Received Millions in U.S. Social Security Benefits

October 20, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Report Claims Nazi War Criminals Received Millions in U.S. Social Security Benefits

Investigation by Associated Press finds that dozens of Nazis collected payments as part of a deal to force them to leave the U.S. voluntarily

Read More

Mango Under Fire For Selling 'SS Blouse'

October 20, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Mango Under Fire For Selling 'SS Blouse'

The Jewish-founded fashion company has faced increased criticism this week after unveiling a new shirt that boasts a lightning-bolt motif

Read More

More Headlines