Researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia have developed a tiny probe that can be used to take images deep inside the human body and measure temperature at the same time.
The fibre-optic device, which is the width of a human hair strand, can be easily and less invasively delivered deep inside the body to see and record real-time physiological data.
It is expected that the probe will help the researchers in creating therapies to prevent overheating of the brain that can be induced by certain drugs, and potentially improve thermal oncology treatment.
Adelaide Medical School researcher Dr Jiawen Li said: “It also allows us to see and record physiological data in real time that we weren’t able to access before.
“The miniaturised imaging and sensing probe has been developed to help study drug-induced hyperthermia.
“Using some drugs such as ecstasy can make certain brain regions overheat and then become damaged.”
Li noted that during experiments, the imaging capability of the tiny device can allow for correct placement inside the body and enables viewing of deeper parts of the brain.
In addition, its built-in thermometer will facilitate monitoring of temperature changes in that region.
The probe is set to provide better insights into the development of hyperthermia and other diseases, as well as enabling the testing of new therapies and the toxicology impacts of drug-taking.
Li and team intend to further expand the applications of the probe from imaging and measurement of temperature to other physiological functions such as pH, oxygen saturation and fat accumulation in arteries.