Long wavelength excitation, a novel 3D scanning method developed by researchers in Ireland is likely to spell the end of X-rays. This technique involves infusing gold particles into the bloodstream before conducting a scan. Although X-rays have been the most potent tools for diagnosing bone injuries, but this chemical approach developed by researchers of School of Chemistry at Trinity College and the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, is something to look out for in near future.
Our body releases significant quantity of calcium whenever there is even a micro crack in the bone. Long wavelength excitation attaches the luminescent material to nano gold particles which are collectively attracted to the calcium deposits. This technique therefore ensures accurate pictures of any micro cracks and problems within the bone structure. Owing to the high level of precision in long wavelength excitation technique, there wouldn’t be the possibility of missing even the smallest of cracks or damages which is often a case with X-rays.
New 3D Diagnostic Technique Promises Utmost Precision
Owing to the stable and inert nature of gold, it has been a part of ancient medicine and is biologically safe. Although skeptics have raised concerns about how time taking the procedure can be as compared to X-rays but looking at the cancer risk posed by X-rays wavelength excitation is definitely something to look out for. Professor Thorri Gunnlaugsson, chief of research team is positive that “this is a major step forward in our quest to develop targeted contrast agents for bone diagnostics for use in clinical applications.”
Long wavelength excitation can also act as an early warning for bone-related health issues such as osteoporosis, which is a common cause of weak bones in the elderly. In fact, Clive Lee, Professor of Anatomy at the Royal College of Surgeons, who was also a part of the team that developed this innovative 3D scanning technology, believes that medical practitioners can benefit immensely with this as they would be able to identify potential weaknesses in the bones to prevent breakage rather than treating broken bones. According to him, the 3D technique will prove to be highly potent for athletes as well who often suffer from stress fractures.
Cost Related Expectations and More
However, there has not been any disclosure about the potential costs of the 3D long wavelength excitation process but it is most likely to be nearer to the cost of a conventional X-ray. Experts are quite positive about its efficacy as it is portable sans the hazardous radiation associated with X-rays.
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