Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Exploring the Body Using Light

Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012
Last Updated: Thursday, March 29, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Exploring the advantages of near infrared or NIR spectroscopy in diagnostics.

There is an increasing demand by medical providers and their patients for diagnostic and monitoring tests which are rapid, inexpensive, non-invasive, are portable, do not require major infrastructure, are suitable for use with infants through to the elderly and require minimal technical training for the operating staff.

Near infrared or NIR spectroscopy offers these advantages and is on the verge of entering everyday clinical use. The current special issue of JNIRS—Journal of Near Infrared Spectroscopy is essential reading on this subject for medical technologists as it contains 16 papers, of which 13 are major reviews, providing an up-to-date overview of the field (

The topics covered include the theory of how light interacts with tissues in the body, what instruments are available, and how organs are monitored non-invasively—even tissues hidden by skin and bone.

Key reviews discuss the ability of NIR spectroscopy to aid the diagnosis of breast cancer, bladder dysfunction, pre-term and new-born infants, psychiatric disorders, and work-related back injuries. NIR is also being used as an aid to sports medicine and as a component in brain –computer interfaces.

Optical methods using visible and near infrared (NIR) light are powerful tools for understanding human health and improving disease detection and treatment. The major tissue absorbers include haemoglobin, lipids, melanin, water and proteins. Oxygenated and de-oxygenated haemoglobin (O2Hb; HHb) preferentially absorb visible and NIR light of different wavelengths, as evidenced by the more reddish colour of oxygenated blood and the more bluish hue of deoxygenated blood. O2Hb and HHb have distinct spectra, therefore optical measurements can provide information on tissue oxygenation, oxygen consumption and blood haemodynamics.

Whilst researchers in the field of medical NIR spectroscopy need to continue to develop new instrumentation and applications, the challenge for physicians is to learn the advantages of NIR-based technologies and to use them in a wide range of medical conditions to assist patients. This collection of papers provides a sound basis to move to this next phase.

“As it is now 30 years since the initial findings, we felt that it was time to assess current and future trends in medical NIR spectroscopy”, pioneer NIR researcher and Guest Editor of this issue Dr Karl Norris said.

“The advantages that NIR presents are considerable and include low cost per sample, more rapid analysis and the ability to operate in a number of in-field or on-line/at-line environments, hence leading to savings in laboratory cost, gains in product value. It is our hope that this special issue will encourage greater interaction between medical and other users of NIR spectroscopy”, added Guest Editor Professor Marco Ferrari.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Scientific News
Pittcon Announces Sanford Asher as Recipient of the 2016 SACP Award
Asher will accept this prestigious award at Pittcon 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Metamaterial Absorbers for Infrared Inspection Technologies
A metamaterial absorber capable of highly sensitive infrared detection enhances the spectroscopy of tiny molecular details.
Pancreatic Cancer Stem Cells Could be "Suffocated" by Anti-diabetic Drug
A new study shows that pancreatic cancer stem cells (PancSCs) are virtually addicted to oxygen-based metabolism, and could be “suffocated” with a drug already used to treat diabetes.
Marzipan Made From Pure Almonds
Researchers carry out DNA analyses and use advanced protein identification techniques to determine whether marzipan is made from pure almonds or also contains other nuts or beans.
Evidence of Ancient Life Discovered Deep Below the Seafloor
Ancient rocks harbored microbial life deep below the seafloor, reports a team of scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Virginia Tech, and the University of Bremen.
Kwansei Gakuin University in Hyogo, Japan, Uses Raman Microscopy
Raman Microscopy study crystallographic defects in silicon carbide wafers.
Structural Discoveries Could Aid in Better Drug Design
Scientists have uncovered the structural details of how some proteins interact to turn two different signals into a single integrated output.
X-ray Laser Experiment Could Help in Designing Drugs for Brain Disorders
Scientists found that when two protein structures in the brain join up, they act as an amplifier for a slight increase in calcium concentration, triggering a gunshot-like release of neurotransmitters from one neuron to another.
Team Identifies Structure of Tumor-Suppressing Protein
An international group of researchers led by Carnegie Mellon University physicists Mathias Lösche and Frank Heinrich have established the structure of an important tumor suppressing protein, PTEN.
Major Innovation in Molecular Imaging Delivers Spatial and Spectral Info Simultaneously
Berkeley Lab scientist invents technique to combine spectroscopy with super-resolution microscopy, enabling new ways to examine cell structures and study diseases.

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos