This new method can diagnose arthritis better

In a new study, researchers found a new way of detecting rheumatoid arthritis using infrared light.

The new method could offer a better way of diagnosing the disease and monitoring treatment effectiveness.

The research was conducted by a team from the University of Birmingham.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, in which the body’s immune system attacks the lining of joints, causing painful inflammation and swelling.

It affects around 500,000 people in the UK and current diagnosis relies on a combination of physical examinations by a consultant rheumatologist, blood tests, and scanning by X-ray or ultrasound.

The analysis can be time-consuming and subjective, requiring highly-trained staff.

In the study, the new technique combines 3-D digital imaging with infrared spectroscopy to create a 3-D image of blood content inside a patients’ hand that can be used to produce an objective, quantifiable assessment.

The patient places a hand inside the scanner, which first creates a 3-D model of the hand, measuring its size and contours.

In the next step, an infrared beam is directed through each finger in turn and the amount of light coming out through the finger is measured.

Because oxygenated and deoxygenated blood absorbs light differently, it’s possible to use the infrared imaging to calculate warning signs of RA such as hypoxia—lowered levels of blood oxygen—and increased levels of blood content, an indication of inflammation.

The team examined 144 joints from 21 rheumatology patients and were able to detect accurately inflamed joints.

They found the results closely matching diagnoses made using ultrasound and clinical examination.

The team says the new rapid, non-invasive technique could help clinicians diagnose the disease earlier.

It can also assess how effectively the selected treatment is controlling the progression of the disease.

The researchers hope soon it will enable clinicians to diagnose the disease earlier and offer personalized treatment plans for patients.

The lead author of the study is Professor Hamid Dehghani.

The study is published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics.

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