Anubha Anti-Ageing Medicine

INFRARED THERMOGRAPHY
This non-invasive technique, using far infrared technology, is able to detect both heat patterns and structural
vascular patterns of superficial tissues within 6-8mm of the skin surface. There are many applications for this
technology. By far the most research has focused on breast scanning. Clear distinction between fibrocystic
breast disease (which has a cold colour signature and potentially sinister lesions (hot colour signature) can be
detected with a high degree of accuracy. The false negative rate is low at 2-6% creating a high sensitivity of
about 94-98% (1) which compares favourably with mammography which has a surprising high false negative
rate ranging from 10-35%. This implies that mammography has a sensitivity of 65-90% and 10-35% of lesions
may be missed. In a  research article  published in the Journal 'Radiology' Dec 2004, Berg et al (2) studied 111
women with malignant foci, mammographic sensitivity was reduced to 45% in extremely dense breasts.  Similar
findings from a Sydney Imaging centre  published in 'Breast 2001', Houssamib et al (3) found in 3799
consecutive presenting cancers, mammographic  sensitivity was 77.6%.

However the specificity or false positive rate is approximately 98%.This implies that if mammography detects a
tumour-like lesion it is most likely to be a correct diagnosis. Infrared thermography does not replace
mammography.

According to Ng's study in The International Journal of Thermal Sciences May 2009 (4),
he states that the last 1.5 decades of complying with the strict standardized thermogram interpretation
protocols by proper infrared trained personnel as documented in literature, breast thermography has achieved
an average sensitivity and specificity of 90%. An abnormal thermogram is reported as the significant biological
risk marker for the existence of or continues development of a breast tumor.

Infra-red thermography may detect mammographic positive lesions 5-7 years before mammography and hence
may be a valuable early warning detection tool of possible breast cancer. Having detected a suspicious lesion on
thermography, confirmation on mammography can then proceed. However, if mammography is negative, that
does not necessarily mean that what was detected was inaccurate, rather the lesion may be too small or not yet
a definitive mass to be detected on mammography which is minimally sensitive for lesions smaller than one
centimeter. From an integrative medicine perspective, this allows, lifestyle and dietary modulation to occur,
followed by retesting.

The computer based images can be stored in a live format and assessed both quantitatively and qualitatively
according to a scale of risk for possible breast cancer.

There are other applications for thermography including migraine headache head scans, thyroid scans, body
scans especially hands and feet to assess circulation especially peripheral vascular disease, blood supply of flaps
and burn depth in plastic surgery (5) as well as musculo-skeletal symptoms.

Infrared themography is not an alternative to mammography. However it may present potential lesions for
further assessment by mammography, ultrasound, MRI scanning for earlier detection. Hence it may provide an
early warning system for corroborative investigation procedures.

























(1) Arora N, Martins D, Ruggerio D, Tousimis E, Swistel AJ, Osborne MP, Simmons RM. Am J Surg. 2008 Oct
;196 (4):523-6. Effectiveness of a noninvasive digital infrared thermal imaging system in the detection of breast
cancer.

(2) Wendie A. Berg, MD, Ph D, Lorena Gutierrez, MD, Moriel S. NessAiver, PhD, W. Bradford Carter, MD Mythreyi
Bhargavan, PhD, Rebecca S. Lewis, MPH, Olga B. Ioffe, MD. Diagnostic Accuracy of
Mammography, Clinical Examination, US, and MR Imaging in Preoperative Assessment of Breast Cancer.
Radiology, December 2004, 233, 830-84.9

(3) N. Houssamib, S. Ciatto, L. Irwig, J. M. Simpson and P. Macaskill. The comparative sensitivity of
mammography and ultrasound in women with breast symptoms: an age-specific analysis. The Breast
Volume 11, Issue 2, April 2002, Pages 125-130.

(4)E.Y.-K. Ng. A review of thermography as promising non-invasive detection modality for breast tumor. The
following case studies help to illustrate the role that breast thermography plays as an addition to a woman's
regular breast health care. International Journal of Thermal Sciences.
Volume 48, Issue 5, May 2009, Pages 849-859.

(5) Hackett M.E.J. The use of thermography in the assessment of depth of burn and blood supply of flaps, with
preliminary reports on its use in dupuytren's contracture and treatment of varicose ulcers.
British Journal of Plastic Surgery, Volume 27, Issue 4, October 1974, Pages 311-31.7

    
    
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