Hair-sized probe can help monitor lung disease: Study
Scientists have developed a hair-sized probe that can measure key indicators of tissue damage deep inside the lungs, that can help monitor the development of diseases such as pneumonia.
The probe consists of an optical fibre -- with a diameter of about 0.2 millimetre (mm) -- that holds 19 sensors, according to the research published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Each sensor can measure different indicators in tissues, such as acidity and oxygen levels, which provide important information on the body's reaction to disease processes.
The technology, developed by researchers from the Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh in the UK, paves the way for accurate monitoring of tissue in areas where existing technologies cannot reach.
Lung diseases are one of the leading causes of death and disability in the world. Despite significant advances, little is known about how disease develops in patients suffering from pneumonia or lung injury.
According to the team, the probe can pick up tiny changes in tissue health and could improve how patients are assessed and treated, specifically those on ventilators in intensive care.
The technology is designed to offer fast, accurate measurements and the flexibility to add more sensors, researchers said.
The technology can be applied to other regions of the body, and may be used to aid the understanding of inflammatory and bacterial diseases.
"These new methods, if taken to clinic, will lead to novel insights in disease biology. Our aim now is to expand the number of unique sensors on this miniaturised platform to provide even more information," Michael Tanner, from the University of Edinburgh.