Finding cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, etc.

Position:Imaging Technology

A new type of imaging technology to diagnose cardiovascular disease and other disorders by measuring ultrasound signals from molecules exposed to a fast-pulsing laser has been developed by researchers at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. The new method could be used to take precise three-dimensional images of plaques lining arteries, indicates Ji-Xin Cheng, professor of biomedical engineering and chemistry.

Other imaging techniques that provide molecular information are unable to penetrate tissue deeply enough to reveal the three-dimensional structure of the plaques, but being able to do so would make better diagnoses possible. "You would have to cut a cross section of an artery to really see the three-dimensional structure of the plaque," Cheng explains. "Obviously, that can't be used for living patients."

The imaging reveals the presence of carbon-hydrogen bonds making up lipid molecules in arterial plaques that cause heart disease. The method also might be used to detect fat molecules in muscles to diagnose diabetes and for other lipid-related disorders, including neurological conditions and brain trauma. The technique can reveal nitrogen-hydrogen bonds making up proteins, meaning the imaging tool might be useful for diagnosing other diseases and to study...

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