Ask Your Geneticist about OCT

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Why You Should Care About OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography)

OCT is a recently developed method for using light to study three dimensional structures, like human tissue. Over the last decade there’s been a huge surge in novel ways to apply light studies to medical imaging. These new techniques offer great potential to be used for diagnosing and better understanding connective tissue disorders. OCT especially stands out because it doesn’t require invasive testing to be used, it’s completely safe with  no potential risks for cancer or side effects ( because of the chosen light waves ), and it’s already being studied in application to a broad range of medical conditions.

Rotating image of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) tomogram of a fingertip .Supplied by the medOCT group, Medical University Vienna, Austria [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Since OCT is already being studied to diagnose skin cancer, changes in skin in response to inflammation, properties of collagen in arteries, the wrinkling of skin and tensile properties of tissue,  it should be easy to expand these studies to better understanding hereditary connective tissue disorders like, Ehlers- Danlos syndrome. The greatest excitement is that there’s lots of funding behind this research because of it’s relevance to cancer diagnostics, cosmetics, the aging of skin, and plaque ruptures in arteries. It’s quite possible that already existing data from these studies could even be used to better understand connective tissue properties related to EDS and that future researchers could team up with geneticists to form studies which could collect data to  benefit both groups. Furthermore, collagen is already a focal point in OCT because it’s uniform structure allows it to be studied within an even more informative version of OCT,  polarization sensitive- optical coherence tomography ( PS-OCT).

So what are we waiting for??? Ask your geneticist about OCT.


Click the following link to open/ download citation list: Examples of OCT in Relevant Medical Research

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