Researchers from Caltech and the University of Southern California have shown new technology that is able to describe the human brain using laser beam and ultrasonic sound waves. This technology is known as tomography or photoacoustic computerized pact. The previous version of the pact technology has been used to imagine the internal structure of mice in the laboratory.
Pacts can do other medical use, including detecting tumors in human breasts, presents the possibility of alternatives for mammograms. This technology was recently enhanced by Caltech Professor Lihong Wang to increase precision. Researchers about the Project said new improvements made technology so precisely and sensitive so that it could detect changes in minutes in the amount of blood traveling through very small blood vessels.
This technology can also be used to detect oxygenation levels in the brain. Researchers about the project said that showing blood concentration and oxygenation change can help researchers and medical professionals monitor brain activity and are known as functional imaging. When breast imaging, the researchers wanted to see blood vessels because they revealed the presence of a tumor.
Tumors have chemicals that stimulate the formation of blood vessels. However, measuring functional changes in brain activity which only varies a few percent compared to baseline is very difficult. In the past, functional measurements were only carried out using the FMRI engine that relied on radio waves and magnetic fields of 100,000 times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field. The problem with the device is they are very expensive.
However, new technologies developed by simple, cheap and compact researchers. In particular, the technology developed by Wang and other researchers do not require patients to be placed inside the machine. It illuminates the pulse of laser light to the head, and the light shines through the scalp, and the skull is spread to the brain and absorbed by hemoglobin molecules in red blood cells.
Hemoglobin molecules vibrate ultrasonic when they take energy. Vibration runs to the network, where they are picked up by an array of 1024 ultrasonic sensors placed around the outside of the head. Data creates a 3D map of blood flow and oxygenation in the brain after being processed by a computer algorithm.