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Engineers harness cell phone technology for use in medical imaging
Date:4/29/2008

production of a map based upon the physical properties of different types of tissue, such as tumors, muscle and fat. An MRI, for instance, produces a map of proton density in different tissue, while an ultrasound produces a map based upon pressure waves.

The researchers chose electrical impedance tomography (EIT) to demonstrate the feasibility of using cell phones in medical imaging. EIT is based upon the principle that diseased tissue transmits electrical currents differently than does healthy tissue. The difference in resistance to electrical currents is translated into an image.

The National Center for Research Resources at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) is supporting Rubinsky's research on the use of EIT to control gene therapy and cancer treatment in patients. The findings reported in the PLoS ONE paper demonstrate that these advanced medical technologies, which are dependent on EIT imaging, are not restricted to highly industrialized locations. Instead, they can be used in underserved areas of the world where there are limited resources.

Utilizing commercially available parts, the research team built a simple data acquisition device for the experiment. The device had 32 stainless steel electrodes - half to inject the electrical current and the other half to measure the voltage - connected to a gel-filled container that simulated breast tissue with a tumor.

A total of 225 voltage measurements were taken and uploaded to a cell phone, which was hooked up to the device with a USB cable. The cell phone was then used to dial into a powerful central computer that contained software to process the packet of raw data that was transmitted. An image was then reconstructed and sent back to the cell phone for viewing.

The researchers verified that the simulated tumor was clearly visible in the image, demonstrating the proof-of-principle that this system is feasible.

"This could open up whole new avenues o
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Contact: Sarah Yang
scyang@berkeley.edu
510-643-7741
University of California - Berkeley
Source:Eurekalert

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