New device for rapid, mobile detection of brain injury

December 20, 2011

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 -- When accidents that involve traumatic brain injuries occur, a speedy diagnosis followed by the proper treatment can mean the difference between life and death. A research team, led by Jason D. Riley in the Section on Analytical and Functional Biophotonics at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, has created a handheld device capable of quickly detecting brain injuries such as hematomas, which occur when blood vessels become damaged and blood seeps out into surrounding tissues where it can cause significant and dangerous swelling.

A paper describing the team's proof-of-concept prototype for the hematoma detection device appears in the Optical Society's (OSA (http://www.osa.org)) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express (http://www.opticsinfobase.org/boe). The device is based on the concept of using instrumental motion as a signal in near-infrared imaging, according to the researchers, rather than treating it as noise. It relies on a simplified single-source configuration with a dual separation detector array and uses motion as a signal for detecting changes in blood volume in the tough, outermost membrane enveloping the brain and spinal cord (see video (http://www.osa.org/About_Osa/Newsroom/News_Releases/Releases/12.2011/Monthly-Tip-Sheet-December-2011.aspx)).

One of the primary applications for the finished device will be the rapid screening of traumatic brain injury patients before using more expensive and busy CT and MRI imaging techniques. In cases where CT and MRI imaging facilities aren't available, such as battlefields or on the scene of accidents, the team believes near-infrared imaging will help to determine the urgency of patient transport and treatment, as well as provide a means of monitoring known hematomas at the bedside or outpatient clinic.
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Paper: "A hematoma detector - A practical application of instrumental motion as a signal in near infra-red imaging (http://www.opticsinfobase.org/boe/abstract.cfm?uri=boe-3-1-192)," Biomedical Optics Express, Vol. 3, Issue 1, pp. 192-205 (2012).

EDITOR'S NOTE: An image and video clip of the handheld device are available to members of the media. Contact Angela Stark, astark@osa.org. This summary is part of OSA's monthly Biomedical Optics Express tip sheet. To subscribe, email astark@osa.org or follow @OpticalSociety on Twitter.

About Biomedical Optics Express

Biomedical Optics Express is OSA's principal outlet for serving the biomedical optics community with rapid, open-access, peer-reviewed papers related to optics, photonics and imaging in the life sciences. The journal scope encompasses theoretical modeling and simulations, technology development, and biomedical studies and clinical applications. It is published by the Optical Society and edited by Joseph A. Izatt of Duke University. Biomedical Optics Express is an open-access journal and is available at no cost to readers online at http://www.OpticsInfoBase.org/BOE.

About OSA

Uniting more than 130,000 professionals from 175 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit http://www.osa.org.

The Optical Society

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