This new development could be a fantastic breakthrough in the medical field if it does come to fruition fully.  Scientists have been carrying out tests on rats that produce high-resolution images of the entire blood vessel network inside a tiny rat’s brain with the use of ultrasound.

The way the researchers carried out the procedure involved injecting the mice with millions of tiny bubbles, then by using high-frequency ultrasound waves that were emitted through the rat’s skin to cause a reflection that scatters the ultrasound waves.  The way in which the scientists managed to achieve such a high resolution was by scanning at an extremely high rate (around 500 frames per second).

Anterior–posterior scan of in-plane velocity maps of the rat forebrain through a thinned skull window. a–i, Velocity maps for the different coronal planes presented in Extended Data

By capturing the images at super fast speed, the researchers gathered 75,000 images of the rat’s blood vessel network in just two and a half minutes.  Once the images were compared and subtracted from the previous one, the team were left with a clear picture of each individual bubble.  From here, the bubbles could be tracked to enable scientists to see the flow of the blood through the vessels and the direction it’s traveling.

This technique could potentially be used for diagnosing cancer or stroke patients or tracking the development of tumors.  Clinical experiments have already begun for using the method in liver scans.  Developing this use of ultrasound to make better diagnosis’ and better understand some medical conditions is an excellent way to help millions of people and could soon be at a clinic near you.

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