A great number of health problems, and consequently the medical treatments for them, involve how blood flows through the body. Heart attacks are caused by restricted blood flow to the heart muscle. Many symptoms of diabetes are the result of damaged blood vessels. Tumors, meanwhile, often promote the growth of new vessels that deliver blood specifically to them. And blood flow is a crucial physiological parameter for measuring brain function.
Because of this, medical professionals want to be able to examine blood vessels and assess their condition, but with many of those vessels buried quite deeply in the body, such an examination can be difficult without exploratory surgery.
New research conducted in the laboratory of Caltech's Lihong Wang, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, is now making it possible to image deep blood vessels in humans, and even the blood flowing through them, in a noninvasive way. [Caltech story]