19 August 2012
HIGH-TECH cameras such as those that use thermal imaging can reveal anomalies on a landscape, such as patches of forest infected with a pathogen. Now they could be used to help identify skin problems.
Doctors usually diagnose psoriasis by visually assessing how much skin is covered in lesions, as well as how reddened, thickened and scaly it has become. Such observations are highly subjective, so Francisco Tausk, at the University of Rochester, teamed up with colleagues at the Rochester Institute of Technology, both in New York, to find out whether imaging technology might be more accurate.
In preliminary trials, thermal cameras proved adept at quantifying redness because the increased circulation underneath skin lesions makes them warmer (see image).
Photographing skin under ultraviolet light highlighted hard plaques, which the researchers say contain an amino acid that may fluoresce. Both approaches picked out areas of skin that looked normal to the eye, suggesting they may be able to predict where lesions will develop.
The team is now seeking funding for a clinical trial.