Seminario Severo Ochoa del Dr. Juan Ruiz Alzola

El jueves 17 de diciembre, el Dr. Juan Ruiz Alzola, investigador visitante Severo Ochoa  impartirá un Seminario Severo Ochoa titulado "Can we leverage astrophysical technology in medicine?

Inicio: 17 Dic, 2015, 10:30h
Finalización: 17 Dic, 2015, 12:00h
Lugar: Aula, Sede Central del IAC, Tenerife.
Organiza: Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias 



 Even though astrophysics and medicine seem far away from each other, they share instrumental features such that IAC could become an important stakeholder for state-of-the-art medical technology conception. In fact, as astrophysics, medicine is more than ever based on high-end technology. Since Rötgen discovered the X radiation in 1895, there has been a continuous flow of knowledge and technology transfer from the basic science laboratory to the clinical arena. Remarkably several Nobel prizes have been awarded for research that turned out most useful for medical instrumentation. Besides X-ray, computed tomography and magnetic resonance are prominent examples.

Astrophysics deals with electromagnetic radiation. Extremely sensitive sensors detect weak radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum in order to analyze its composition and features, as they provide relevant clues and information about the originating cosmic processes.

In medicine electromagnetic radiation is most relevant too, yet it doesn’t come from space but from the body under inspection. Such radiation can be emitted by the body itself, due to its own temperature, or it can be originated at an external source and then absorbed, reflected, transmitted or scattered by the body biological tissues. Different processes can be studied across the electromagnetic spectrum providing not only relevant clues on the underlying biological processes, but important diagnostic and therapeutic information.

The seminar will discuss similarities and differences between astrophysical and medical technology, so as to leverage synergies between both fields. To this extent instrumental methods in medicine based on electromagnetism will be reviewed, paying a particular attention to imaging modalities. A main goal will be to identify instrumental modalities mastered in astrophysics but not used customarily used in medicine yet, which boast promising features for clinical applications: microwave and infrared thermography, near infrared and hyper-spectral imaging are among them.

A first of such applications will be discussed: microwave and infrared thermography for early detection and monitoring of diabetic foot complications. Diabetes is a global concern, with high morbility and cost. The WHO estimates its prevalence about 9% globally. Prevalence in the Canary Islands is higher, with estimates around 14% of the adult population. Vascular and neuropathic complications are quite common, being diabetic foot most prominent. Undetected complications can lead to serious infections and foot amputation. A low-cost passive system will be discussed for non-invasively detecting temperature abnormalities using microwave and infrared thermography, which correlate with early unnoticed symptoms. Currently available experience at IAC on microwave and far infrared sensor technology could be a major opportunity to design and build a practical prototype of such system, which once clinically tested should be developed and globally marketed by the industry, with royalties returned to IAC.


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