Posts related to: Non-imaging

Why do animals have differently shaped pupils?

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Only the least observant could fail to notice that pupils come in striking different shapes. Not in humans, of course, where they are invariable circular, but in many other terrestrial animals where they are sometimes round, but also often elongated and slit-like. The orientation of these slits also varies; most predators, including your neighbourhood tabby, have vertical slits, while in prey animals they are more likely to be horizontal. This intrigued a team of optometrists and physicists from the University of California, Berkeley, and Durham University (UK), and so they set out to discover what drives these variations. And in a paper published in Science Advances1, they think they have the answer.
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  1. Banks, Martin S., et al. “Why do animal eyes have pupils of different shapes?.” Science advances 1.7 (2015): e1500391

Absorption spectroscopy in newborn baby lungs

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Any kind of non-invasive optical measurement of structures deep inside the human body is challenging, and absorption spectroscopy is no exception. But despite the apparent difficulties, a research team from Lund University want to use spectroscopy to measure the concentration of gases in the lungs of newborn babes. They particularly want to do this for premature babies, because they are often born with respiratory problems. At the present, their lungs are monitored with blood tests and x-rays, and there are obvious limits to how regularly these can be performed. If non-invasive optical sensing could give some indication of how well the newborns’ lungs are functioning, it could be an attractive way of providing continual monitoring during treatment.
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Fibre Illumination of the Common Bile Duct

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Working with light and optics is difficult, especially when you want to use them around patients. Journals are full of papers describing intricate techniques which have been shown to work in the lab, but which would be difficult to implement in real clinical practice. On the other hand, we occasionally see some techniques which appear simple and perhaps even obvious, but which have the potential for immediate and low-cost clinical translation. One candidate for this second category is the idea of using fibre optic illumination to aid identification of the common bile duct (CBD) during laparoscopic surgery.
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