Exploring the body using light

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.

Special issue of JNIRS—Journal of Near Infrared Spectroscopy on medical applications of NIR spectroscopy.

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 (http://www.impublications.com/content/jnirs-table-contents?issue=20_1).

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.

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