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Leicester scientists deploy space-age technologies at science-fiction style 'sick bay'

A new hi-tech 1million-plus non-invasive disease detection facility, developed by the University of Leicester, has been unveiled today (Sept 1st 2011) for use in Leicester Royal Infirmary's A&E department.

It is designed to detect the "sight, smell and feel" of disease without the use of invasive probes, blood tests, or other time-consuming and uncomfortable procedures.

Scientists use three different types of cutting-edge technology in combination under a range of situations. All the methods are non-invasive, and could speed up diagnosis.

Scientists have surrounded a normal hospital bed with an unprecedented array of technology to examine patients:

  • One group of instruments (developed in the University's Chemistry Department) analyses gases present in a patient's breath.

  • A second uses imaging systems and technologies - developed to explore the universe - to hunt for signs of disease via the surface of the human body.

  • The third uses a suite of monitors to look inside the body and measure blood-flow and oxygenation in real-time.

The technologies employed in the new Leicester Diagnostics Development Unit have never previously all been used in an integrated manner and with such a large pool of patients.

University of Leicester researchers from space research, emergency medicine and Chemistry, worked with colleagues in Cardiovascular Sciences, Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, Physics and Astronomy, Engineering, IT Services and the Leicester Royal Infirmary to create the Unit.

Some of the technology in the new Unit has been originally developed for use in planetary research: in the year 2019, an international space probe is scheduled to arrive on Mars to look for life and will employ similar technologies. Some of the advanced technology and science behind the unit was developed at the University of Leicester.

Appropriately for something that comes from outer s

Contact: University of Leicester Press Office
University of Leicester

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