Portable laser devices to improve disease diagnosis

Sep 22, 2010

Portable devices that use a laser beam to probe bones, teeth, and other parts of the body for early signs of diseases like osteoporosis and tooth decay may seem like something out of science fiction. But those devices are moving closer to reality, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

C&EN Senior Editor Celia Henry Arnaud notes that these new diagnostic tools will have the ability to see beneath the skin and detect disease, without exposing patients to X-rays. They embrace a technology that involves focusing a beam painlessly through the skin onto a bone or onto the surface of a tooth. After hitting its target, the beam returns to an electronic detector with imprinted information that can reveal whether disease is present. Called Raman spectroscopy, the technology is a mainstay tool in chemistry laboratories that is finding a new life in medicine.

The article describes growing medical interest in Raman-based devices, especially for diagnosing and other diseases, and for tracking the effectiveness of treatment. Another application may be in very early detection of , so that dentists can treat soft spots on tooth enamel before "drill-and-fill" becomes the only option. The technique could also mean blood tests done without taking blood samples, the article indicates.

Explore further: Building the ideal rest stop for protons

More information: "Raman Heads For The Clinic" at pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/88/8838cover.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Simple push filling wins crown in battle against tooth decay

Dec 20, 2007

The Hall Technique, which uses preformed metal crowns pushed onto teeth with no dental injections or drilling, is favoured over traditional “drill and fill” methods by the majority of children who received it, reveals ...

Scientists detect tooth decay in the 3rd dimension

Sep 07, 2004

A team of scientists from Glasgow today revealed a new technique that will allow dentists to detect and study the tell-tale signs of tooth decay before too much damage is done. Speaking at one of the opening sessions at ...

Blood test for schizophrenia could be ready this year

Jan 20, 2010

the most serious form of mental illness — could be available this year, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine. The disorder, with symptoms that can includ ...

Open wide and say 'zap'

Aug 18, 2009

A group of researchers in Australia and Taiwan has developed a new way to analyze the health of human teeth using lasers. As described in the latest issue of Optics Express,, by measuring how the surface of a tooth respon ...

How safe and effective are herbal dietary supplements?

Jul 21, 2010

Millions of people are taking herbs and other plant-based dietary supplements to improve their health, but they have precious little information on the actual effectiveness or potential ill effects of these products. That's ...

Recommended for you

Building the ideal rest stop for protons

16 hours ago

Where protons, or positive charges, decide to rest makes the difference between proceeding towards ammonia (NH3) production or not, according to scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and ...

Cagey material acts as alcohol factory

17 hours ago

Some chemical conversions are harder than others. Refining natural gas into an easy-to-transport, easy-to-store liquid alcohol has so far been a logistic and economic challenge. But now, a new material, designed ...

User comments : 0