Breaking News
September 25, 2018 - Study provides evidence of beta lactamase producing, antimicrobial resistant E. coli in U.S. retail meat
September 25, 2018 - UCI study finds new cause of cerebral microbleeds
September 25, 2018 - Researchers propose mechanism by which ASTN2 protein defects lead to brain disorders
September 25, 2018 - Chinese and German researchers to cooperate more closely in future for better food
September 25, 2018 - Recent study helps predict probability of pregnant mothers to have child with autism
September 25, 2018 - New online, sound matching tool offers tinnitus sufferers potential treatment options
September 25, 2018 - UC Davis researchers take critical step in developing more effective Salmonella vaccine
September 25, 2018 - Antibiotics best paediatric treatment for children’s chronic wet cough
September 25, 2018 - Looking beyond opioids: Stanford pain psychologist briefs Congress
September 25, 2018 - Organs actively fighting back against autoimmune diseases, finds study
September 25, 2018 - Lancaster professor aims to understand how genes affect smoking cessation
September 25, 2018 - Human-oriented perspective needed to better understand Parkinson’s disease
September 25, 2018 - Physical activity may have beneficial effects for people with rare Alzheimer’s disease
September 25, 2018 - FDA Updates on Valsartan Recalls
September 25, 2018 - 3-D-printed tracheal splints used in groundbreaking pediatric surgery
September 25, 2018 - Who is the designated driver, or proxy, for your health decisions?
September 25, 2018 - New chemo-optogenetic method enables multi-directional activity control of cellular processes
September 25, 2018 - Study explores link between genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s and cardiometabolic risk factors
September 25, 2018 - NeoTract presents new clinical data from studies of UroLift System for patients with BPH
September 25, 2018 - Statins Improve Long-Term Survival After AAA Repair
September 25, 2018 - Novel brain network linked to chronic pain in Parkinson’s disease
September 25, 2018 - Researchers reassess negative pressure wound therapy as its benefit and harm remain unclear
September 25, 2018 - Older adults with ‘fall plan of care’ less likely to suffer fall-related hospitalizations
September 25, 2018 - FDA lifts partial clinical hold that paused enrollment of new patients in tazemetosta clinical trials
September 25, 2018 - IME Medical Electrospinning establishes state-of-the-art manufacturing lab facilities
September 25, 2018 - Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of entrectinib drug in ROS1-positive NSCLC show promising results
September 25, 2018 - How to Protect Your Eyesight
September 25, 2018 - Novel approach allows researchers to define how cells in the retina respond to diabetes
September 25, 2018 - Columbia University announces winners of 2018 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize
September 25, 2018 - Clinical trial investigators found non-compliant with requirement to report results on EU register
September 25, 2018 - Study analyzes quality of protein supplements in function of source, treatment and storage
September 25, 2018 - FDA grants Orphan Drug Designation to Myelo001 for treatment of Acute Radiation Syndrome
September 25, 2018 - U.S. Alzheimer’s Cases to Nearly Triple by 2060
September 25, 2018 - Improving cell replacement therapy for Parkinson’s disease
September 25, 2018 - Genervon reports new findings that drug candidate GM6 attenuates Alzheimer’s disease in mice model
September 25, 2018 - FDA approves new 5 mm diameter drug-eluting stent from Cook Medical
September 25, 2018 - New $17.8 million grant ensures USC at forefront of research on tobacco-related health risks
September 25, 2018 - Researchers analyze response to combination immunotherapy for patients with rare skin cancer
September 25, 2018 - Study sheds light on how brain protein may be involved neurodevelopmental disorders
September 25, 2018 - Where to draw the line on incentives
September 25, 2018 - Solid fuel use linked with increased risk of hospitalization or death from respiratory diseases
September 25, 2018 - ‘Trouble Brewing’ report highlights steps that governments can take to reduce alcohol-related harms
September 25, 2018 - Recurrence risk of VTE appears similar for patients with cancer and those with unprovoked VTE
September 25, 2018 - Global leaders must make bold commitments at first-ever UN tuberculosis summit
September 25, 2018 - Brief sleep intervention works long-term to prevent child obesity
September 25, 2018 - Vaping among kids and teens a growing concern
September 25, 2018 - Public launch of products and application solutions from Porvair Laboratory Division
September 25, 2018 - Harmful H. pylori may play a role in Parkinson’s disease
September 25, 2018 - Researchers develop way to measure different types of fear of falling in patients with Parkinson’s
September 25, 2018 - Fracture causes bone density losses throughout the body
September 25, 2018 - Researchers highlight potential therapy for treating rare, deadly blood-clotting disorder
September 25, 2018 - Hybrid theranostic complex shows high therapeutic efficacy against tumor cells
September 25, 2018 - FDA Issues Statement Reaffirming the Positive Benefit-Risk Profile of Nuplazid (pimavanserin) for Patients with Hallucinations and Delusions Associated with Parkinson’s Disease Psychosis
September 25, 2018 - Toxicological evaluation and dosimetry estimation of potential PET radiotracer
September 25, 2018 - 5 obstacles parents commonly face in child obesity treatment and how to overcome them
September 25, 2018 - Immunologist to study how Chikungunya causes devastating effects in older adults
September 25, 2018 - Rural borderland communities vulnerable to high stress impacting mental and physical health
September 25, 2018 - SNMMI announces recipients of 2018-2020 Wagner-Torizuka Fellowship
September 25, 2018 - Common painkiller not effective in controlling chronic pain after traumatic nerve injury
September 25, 2018 - New therapeutic vaccine helps immune cells fight HPV-related head and neck cancer
September 25, 2018 - Environmentally-induced gene activity influences IQ test performance
September 25, 2018 - Biogen and Eisai announce results of LTE Phase 1b study of aducanumab for treating MCI
September 25, 2018 - FDA Approves Copiktra (duvelisib) Capsules for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia/Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma and Follicular Lymphoma
September 25, 2018 - Medical device company settles US case over false claims
September 25, 2018 - Trying to get answers: One woman’s quest for a diagnosis
September 25, 2018 - Lung cancer patients treated with invasive surgery more likely to become chronic opioid users
September 25, 2018 - Oxford VR raises £3.2m to boost innovation in VR for mental health problems
September 25, 2018 - Gene therapy approach could help treat mitochondrial diseases
September 25, 2018 - Few Yogurt Products Qualify As Low-Sugar
September 25, 2018 - Eye disease can cause blindness, and it’s on the rise
September 25, 2018 - Pawnshop density linked to gun-related suicides, Stanford study finds
September 25, 2018 - Pioneering procedure for common prostate condition offered by The London Clinic
September 25, 2018 - Number of people with respiratory diseases likely to increase if UK air pollution remains unchecked
September 25, 2018 - FARXIGA receives positive results in Phase III DECLARE-TIMI 58 cardiovascular outcomes trial
September 25, 2018 - New program to reduce harmful stress effectively improves mood in cancer patients
September 24, 2018 - Florence’s Lingering Threat: Mold – Drugs.com MedNews
September 24, 2018 - For professional baseball players, faster hand-eye coordination linked to batting performance
September 24, 2018 - Bill for later school start times is defeated, but Stanford sleep specialist isn’t
September 24, 2018 - For Heart Failure Patients, Mitral Valve Procedure Improved Outcomes
September 24, 2018 - Successful recovery from addiction means more than achieving abstinence
Study finds the grain an ideal and safe contrast agent for diagnosing swallowing disorders

Study finds the grain an ideal and safe contrast agent for diagnosing swallowing disorders

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Roasted barley as a human subject swallows it over the course of 1.2 seconds. Credit: University at Buffalo

Before launching their latest science experiment, University at Buffalo researchers bought more than 200 types of tea, chocolate, herbs and other foodstuffs.

The goal wasn’t to stock up for long hours in the lab, but rather to find an elusive, edible contrast agent to show doctors what’s happening inside our bodies.

The search culminated with a winner: barley. Turns out that a roasted version of the grain, when struck by a common laser beam, can illuminate the throat and the gastrointestinal track.

The discovery could improve our ability to diagnose swallowing disorders, which affect more than 15 million Americans, as well as gut disorders. What’s more, because many human diets already include barley, it could be fast-tracked for medical use.

“It’s really incredible. Here you have this common grain—it has been grown all over the world for thousands of years, and used to make tea, bread, beer—and we’re just now finding another use for it as a contrast agent for medical imaging,” says Jun Xia, Ph.D., assistant professor in the University at Buffalo Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Xia and 10 other UB co-authors described the experiment and its results in a study published in May in the journal Biomaterials.

An alternative to barium

Swallowing disorders, also known as dysphagia, can be an indication of a serious medical problem. They are caused by everything from cancer and Alzheimer’s disease to missing teeth and neck injuries.

To test for dysphagia, doctors typically have patients drink a thick, chalky liquid called barium. Doctors then use X-rays, MRIs or ultrasounds to look inside the throat. Each technique is limited with respect to safety, high-cost and lack of adequate contrast, respectively.

The video shows roasted barley passing through a human subject’s throat when illuminated by photoacoustic computed tomography. Credit: University at Buffalo

Photoacoustic computed tomography (PACT) is an emerging alternative.

Like barium, patients drink or are injected with a contrast agent—often newly developed nanoparticles made of metals, polymers and other materials. A laser strikes the nanoparticles, generating pressure waves that can provide nuanced and real-time views inside the body.

One drawback to contrast-enhanced PACT is the often lengthy and expensive regulatory process for new contrast agents.

“That’s what led us to search for edible alternatives. Because we’ve been eating or drinking these products, we know they’re safe for most people,” says study co-author Jonathan Lovell, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, which is a joint program of UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.

Swallowing and GI disorders

The researchers focused on dark foods and beverages because the darker the color, the more the foodstuff will absorb wavelengths from the laser and, theoretically, produce a clearer image.

Roasted barley, a grain used to produce beer, bread and other products, provided the best results. Researchers were able to detect individual particles of it through 3.5 centimeters of chicken breast tissue, as well as through human hands.

Roasted barley tea—a drink common in Japan, Korea and China—was detectable through 2.5 centimeters of chicken breast. It worked in human subjects as well, providing visualizations inside the human throat when swallowing.

In addition to swallowing imaging, researchers say roasted barley could potentially be used to diagnose gastrointestinal tract disorders.


Explore further:
Laser-sonic scanner aims to replace mammograms for finding breast cancer

More information:
Depeng Wang et al, Ingestible roasted barley for contrast-enhanced photoacoustic imaging in animal and human subjects, Biomaterials (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.05.016

Journal reference:
Biomaterials

Provided by:
University at Buffalo

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles