Your skin problems, captured by thermal imaging cameras

Doctors usually diagnose psoriasis by observing how red, thick, and scaly the skin is. But by using a thermal camera, doctors can now quantify skin problems.
Written by Janet Fang, Contributor on

Thermal imaging cameras that can reveal where pathogens are lurking in a forested landscape can now be used to identify problems with your skin.

Doctors usually diagnose common psoriasis by visually assessing how much of the skin is covered in lesions. And they also look at how reddened, thickened, and scaly it has become. But these observations – which make up the Psoriasis Area Severity Index score -- are pretty subjective.

To find a more accurate method, Francisco Tausk at the University of Rochester and colleagues at the Rochester Institute of Technology turned to imaging technology. New Scientist explains.

  1. Thermal cameras can quantify redness because the circulation underneath skin lesions makes them warmer (pictured above).
  2. Photographing the skin under ultraviolet light highlights hard plaques, which actually contain an amino acid that fluoresces.

Together, these two approaches picked out the areas of the skin that looked normal to the naked eye – which suggests that the method may be able to predict where lesions will develop.

The team hope to begin clinical trials on their imaging system soon.

[Via New Scientist]

Image: Rochester Institute of Technology

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards