Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can sometimes mean making frequent health checks. But it can get quite tiresome trying to get to health clinics in order to have yourself checked. Technology may someday change this by allowing people to have their own health checked simply by means of using a portable scanner or any other similar device. Some may think that this might be something that would be possible in the distant future. But there are now scientists who are studying the possibility of making health checks more convenient.
Scientists at the Charite-University Medicine in Berlin, Germany have developed a miniature test system that will allow people to gather useful data about their own health. This new system makes use of an optical scanner the size of a PC mouse that can measure the antioxidants found in the skin and sweat. Through this, the newly developed health screening system can provide information on whether an individual follows a healthy or an unhealthy lifestyle, in just a matter of minutes. This new method was developed in partnership with the Federal Ministry for Education and Research OptecNet Germany eV.
The optical scanner was in development for over five years by the group of Professor Jurgen Ladermann of the Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergy of the Charite-University Medicine in Berlin. The developed system makes use of a non-contact measurement method where light from the scanner is shone on the skin. This method of measuring anti-oxidants in the skin was based on measuring the concentration of such substances used in welding.
Antioxidants are vitamins and trace elements which get into the body via food. They help combat free radicals which are known causes of a variety of lifestyle diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol and eating unhealthy food can have an effect that may show on the skin as well as affect the level of antioxidants found in it. The lower the value of antioxidant traces found in the skin, the unhealthy the individual generally becomes.
The newly developed optical scanner is by no means a method of trying to detect diseases in individuals. Rather, it helps provide an indication of an individual’s overall health by means of a non-invasive method. Previous methods usually required getting tissue samples and other invasive tests in order to get similar measurements. With the optical scanner, overall health checks can become even more convenient and easier to maintain on a regular basis.