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Shedding new light on one of diabetes' most dangerous complications
Date:8/30/2012

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2012For many diabetics, monitoring their condition involves much more than adhering to a routine of glucose sensing and insulin injections. It also entails carefully monitoring the ongoing toll this disease takes on their body.

An innovative new optical diagnostic tool created by Columbia University researchers and reported today in the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express may soon make it easier to diagnose and monitor one of the most serious complications of diabetes, peripheral arterial disease (PAD). PAD, which is marked by a narrowing of the arteries caused by plaque accumulation, frequently results in insufficient blood flow to the body's extremities and increases a person's risk for heart attack and stroke.

This new noninvasive imaging technique known as dynamic diffuse optical tomography imaging (DDOT) uses near-infrared light to map the concentration of hemoglobin in the body's tissue. This mapping can reveal how effectively blood is flowing to patients' hands and feet.

"Currently, there are no good methods to assess and monitor PAD in diabetic patients," explains Andreas Hielscher, Ph.D., professor of Biomedical and Electrical Engineering and Radiology, and director of the Biophotonics and Optical Radiology Laboratory at Columbia University.

"Patients with PAD experience foot pain, called 'claudication,' while walking," adds Gautam Shrikhande, M.D., assistant professor of surgery, and director of the Vascular Laboratory at Columbia's Medical Center. "This pain continues, even at rest, as the disease progresses. In more advanced stages, PAD patients develop sores or ulcers that won't heal. Then, cell death, a.k.a. 'gangrene,' occurs and amputation is often the only solution. It's extremely important to diagnose PAD early, because medication and lifestyle changes can alleviate the disease."

This is where DDOT can help. "We've successfully used D
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Contact: Angela Stark
astark@osa.org
202-416-1443
Optical Society of America
Source:Eurekalert  

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