With the development of new portable laser devices to probe bones, teeth, and other parts of the body for early signs of diseases like osteoporosis and tooth decay, a visit to the dentist could now be a painless affair.
C and EN Senior Editor Celia Henry Arnaud notes that these new diagnostic tools will have the ability to see beneath the skin and detect disease, without exposing patients to X-rays.
The laser beam technology, called Raman spectroscopy, focuses a laser beam painlessly through the skin onto a bone or onto the surface of a tooth. After hitting its target, the beam returns to an electronic detector with imprinted information that can reveal whether disease is present.
The technology is a mainstay tool in chemistry laboratories that is finding a new life in medicine.The article describes growing medical interest in Raman-based devices, especially for diagnosing osteoporosis and other bone diseases, and for tracking the effectiveness of treatment.
It could also mark the end of "drill-and-fill" routine for tooth decay treatments.The technique could also mean blood tests done without taking blood samples, the article indicates.
The article is published in the current issue of Chemical and Engineering News (C and EN), ACS' weekly news magazine.