Non-invasive sinusitis diagnostics in sight

December 1, 2015 by K. Maedefessel-Herrmann, Journal of Biophotonics
Non-invasive sinusitis diagnostics in sight

Sinusitis is a very common disease. Most frequently, it can be successfully treated with decongestants and antiinflammatory drugs. Only prolonged infections related to bacteria should be treated with antibiotics. Unfortunately, antibiotics are much too frequently prescribed. Over-prescription of antibiotics is a truly worldwide and alarming problem, jeopardizing effective treatments when really needed. Improved diagnostic tools could help assessing an infection is of bacterial or viral origin and antibiotics have to be applied or not.

A team of scientists from the South China Normal University (Guangzhou, China) and the Lund University (Sweden) led by Sune Svanberg now presents a new approach for a non-intrusive optical technique for human sinus realtime diagnostics that could be developed into a cost-effective, easy-to-use hand-held instrument.

The method is based on a technique called Gas in Scattering Media Absorption Spectroscopy (GASMAS) which allows studies of gases inside porous and highly scattering solids and was introduced in 2001 by Svanberg and co-workers. GASMAS is related to tunable diode laser , TDLAS, and makes use of the high spectroscopic contrast between the extremely sharp spectral absorption lines of free gases and the slowly varying absorption fingerprints of bulk solid material.

The researchers studied the water vapor in the frontal sinuses at around 937 nm in healthy volunteers. The amount of water vapor is a measure for the free gas volume. The results showed a good stability of the GASMAS signals over extended times for the frontal sinuses of all volunteers, showing promising applicability to detect anomalies due to sinusitis. Even the application of a decongestion spray did not change the signals noticeably. The water vapor concentration is given by the temperature only, and is not influenced by changes in cavity ventilation.

In the healthy subjects, a zero or close to zero value was never observed. In contrast, as had been shown earlier in a clinical study with GASMAS measurement immediately after CT investigation, values close to zero are typical for patients with sinusitis. The possibility of low signal readings due to casual changes in the sinus interior, not related to sinus problems, could thus be largely eliminated.

GASMAS also offers the possibility of determining the concentration of oxygen, which is related to the ventilation of the sinuses and shows a good potential in distinguishing between infection of bacterial and viral origin.

The researchers are confident that GASMAS could be the base for the development of a compact hand-held instrument for noninvasive, realtime and cost-effective diagnostics for human sinuses. In the case of recurrent disease, stored data could be used as a reference, offering additional diagnostic power.

Explore further: Study links sinusitis to microbial diversity, suggests new approach for dealing with common ailment

More information: Jing Huang et al. Assessment of human sinus cavity air volume using tunable diode laser spectroscopy, with application to sinusitis diagnostics, Journal of Biophotonics (2015). DOI: 10.1002/jbio.201500110

Related Stories

When should sinus problems be a concern?

October 21, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- The majority of sinus infections in adults tend to be viral, not bacterial, and will likely resolve in 10-14 days, says UC Health allergist Andrew Smith, MD.

When antibiotics are needed

November 18, 2015

(HealthDay)—Overuse of antibiotics is one of the main causes of antibiotic resistance, a major public health threat in the United States.

For first time, entire thermal infrared spectrum observed

June 15, 2012

The driving mechanism of the greenhouse effect, and the underpinning of modern anthropogenic warming, is the absorption, emission, and transmission of infrared radiation by atmospheric gases. The heat-trapping ability of ...

Recommended for you

Researchers engineer a tougher fiber

February 22, 2019

North Carolina State University researchers have developed a fiber that combines the elasticity of rubber with the strength of a metal, resulting in a tougher material that could be incorporated into soft robotics, packaging ...

A quantum magnet with a topological twist

February 22, 2019

Taking their name from an intricate Japanese basket pattern, kagome magnets are thought to have electronic properties that could be valuable for future quantum devices and applications. Theories predict that some electrons ...

Solving the jet/cocoon riddle of a gravitational wave event

February 22, 2019

An international research team including astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has combined radio telescopes from five continents to prove the existence of a narrow stream of material, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.