Now Larin and colleagues at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston have shown that they can image live mouse embryos cultured outside of the uterus at different stages of development. Using a technique called optical coherence tomography (OCT), they are able to visualize early cardio dynamics and perform blood flow measurements, even from individual cells. OCT works by beaming infrared light on the embryonic tissues and then gating the back-reflected photons from different depths inside the tissues using low-coherence interferometry. The technique is similar to ultrasound imaging, but produces higher resolution images using optical frequencies. The researchers have demonstrated that they can image the heart in its earliest stages, as it first starts to beat and forms chambers. Their hope is to now use this tool to compare how hearts develop in genetically manipulated mice carrying mutations analogous to those that lead to birth defects in people. (Paper FthV2, "Early Mammalian Embryonic Imaging at Different Developmental Stages with Optical Coherence Tomography" is at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15).
NEW SCOPE TO HELP PREMATURE BABIES BREATHE EASIER
Babies born prematurely often find it difficult to breathe on their own. They may require intubation, the insertion of a tube through the nose or mouth into the still-developing lungs to move air in and out. Intubation in adults has a reasonable success rate -- upwards of 80 or 90 percent -- but only about half of first attempts to insert the tube succeed in low-birth-weight babies.
"The size is different and the anatomy is different in infants," says Katherine Baker of the University of California, San Diego.
Baker is working with pediatricians at the university's medical center to create a new piece of equipment suitable for infants, a customized laryngoscope. Its centimeter-wide acrylic tip is tilted to better guide the breathing tube, a light-emitti
|Contact: Angela Stark|
Optical Society of America