Researchers from the University of Sheffield have developed a new ultrasound method that can measure the level of tension in human tissue for the first time – a key indicator of disease.
This breakthrough, made by Dr. Artur Gower of the university’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, along with researchers from Harvard University, Tsinghua University and University of Galway, can be used to build new ultrasound machines capable of better diagnosing abnormal tissue and scarring. and cancer.
Ultrasound uses sound waves to create pictures of the organs inside the human body. However, the images produced by current technologies used in health care are usually not sufficient to diagnose whether the tissue is abnormal. To improve diagnosis, researchers have developed a way to measure forces such as tension using an ultrasound machine. Tension is created in all living tissues, so measuring it can indicate whether the tissues are functioning properly or if they are affected by disease.
The researchers used technology from the University of Sheffield’s Railway Project, which uses sound waves to measure tension along railway tracks. This technique, used in both rail and medical ultrasound, is based on a simple principle: The higher the tension, the faster sound waves propagate. Using this principle, the researchers developed a method that sends two sound waves in different directions. The stress is then related to the speed of the waves using mathematical theories developed by the researchers.
Previous ultrasound methods have struggled to show the difference between stiff tissue or tense tissue. The developed technology is the first to be able to measure the tensile strength of any type of soft tissue, without knowing anything about it. In a new paper published in the journal Science advancesIn , the researchers describe the new method and show how they used it to measure tension within a muscle.
Dr Artur Gower, Lecturer in Dynamics at the University of Sheffield, said: “When you go into hospital, the doctor may use an ultrasound machine to create an image of an organ, such as your liver, or another part of your body, such as your gut, to help them explore the cause of the problem. One of the limitations of the waves is Ultrasound is used in health care now that the image alone is not sufficient to diagnose if any of your tissues are abnormal.
“What we have done in our research is develop a new method of using ultrasound to measure the level of tension in tissues. This level of detail can tell us whether the tissue is abnormal or if it is affected by scarring or disease. This technique is the first time that it has been possible to Using ultrasound to measure forces within tissues, it can now be used to build new ultrasound devices capable of early diagnosis of abnormal tissue and disease.”