SGU Picture Of The Week: Disease Revealed By Thermal Image
What you see here is a thermal (or mid) infrared image that was recently announced as a finalist in Wellcome Images of the year awards.
The two hands on display here would seem perfectly similar and normal if they weren’t photographed in this way. Each hand was held in cold water for two minutes before the thermal or heat energy they released was photographed with a special camera.
The hand on the left is still colder than normal but it is clearly warming up pretty fast as blood re-heats the now chilly tissues. The other hand however is obviously having a harder time warming back up at the same speed.
This is because its owner has Raynaud’s disease. Cold temperatures typically cause vasoconstriction of the blood vessels near the surface of our skin. This is quite valuable for conserving the heat our body cores need so desperately. Raynauds sufferers constrict more quickly and more extremely than other people. They also take longer to recover as this image shows.
Image Credit: Matthew Clavey, Thermal Vision Research