The same technology that allows NASA to identify minerals on the surface of Mercury is being adapted to diagnose eye conditions on Earth.
Multispectral imaging (MSI) gathers information across the electromagnetic spectrum. Different surfaces absorb different amounts of light, so MSI captures data in varying wavelengths that can be separated by filters beyond the visible light range. These images provide NASA with information about water, vegetation, soil and the atmosphere on other planets.
Now, local neuro-ophthalmologists Rosa Tang, M.D., and Jade Schiffman, M.D., co-directors at The Optic Nerve Center—a unit of Neuro-Ophthalmology of Texas, in the Eye Wellness Center—are studying the effectiveness of MSI in identifying a number of eye conditions. Their National Space Biomedical Research Institute-funded study, led by Baylor College of Medicine’s Eric Bershad, M.D., examines eye conditions that astronauts may develop in space.
Tang and Schiffman focused on idiopathic intercranial hypertension (IIH), a condition in which pressure increases in the spaces surrounding the brain and spinal cord. IIH is most common in overweight women of childbearing age, and the increased pressure from IIH can lead to papilledema, a swelling of the optic nerve. Symptoms of papilledema include disturbances in vision, vomiting and headaches.
In some papilledema cases, the retina and choroid—the vascular layer of the eye that contains connective tissue and provides all eye layers with most of their blood supply—may develop folds. The depth of the MSI imaging allows doctors to see the choroid and any potential trouble spots.
Over three months, Tang and Schiffman evaluated about 90 patients using MSI and other imaging devices. MSI reliably imaged the optic nerve swelling and the choroidal folds in these patients, and a preliminary analysis suggests that MSI provided a unique view of the choroid not seen with other imaging devices. In a healthy eye, the layers within the choroid look like a smooth ocean; if there are folds in the choroid, the layers look like waves.
“Previously, our imaging stayed in the layer of the retina and we could not image deeper into the choroidal layer,” Tang said. “Now, we can penetrate into that area more reliably and see the folds.”
For decades, medical researchers have found that NASA technology complements their own work. In the 1980s, for example, Houston Methodist heart surgeons Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., and George Noon, M.D., created an implantable heart pump that was inspired, in part, by the way a space shuttle engine operates. More recently, Susan Love, M.D., clinical professor of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, was reported to be using technology from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to study the microbiome of breast ducts, a likely origin for breast cancers.
While Tang and Schiffman are determining the usefulness of MSI in studying eye conditions on Earth, they hope the same technology will be effective in detecting eye conditions in space, specifically microgravity ocular syndrome. This syndrome also results in papilledema, and NASA wants to be able to diagnose it while astronauts are in space.
Though microgravity ocular syndrome causes similar symptoms to IIH, Tang said, it is interesting to researchers that fit astronauts develop it in space, while IIH tends to affect overweight or obese individuals here on Earth.
“If we can learn when exactly the microgravity ocular syndrome develops in the astronauts in space, potentially the cause and prevention may be determined,” she said. “Theories about IIH could potentially evolve as a result of future space studies, since IIH is also not well understood.”
4.26, noon-3 p.m.: @MethodistHosp San Jacinto Hospital Hiring Event for experienced RNs. Learn more: https://t.co/4v7r2jpdTP https://t.co/pVFG8AmsG4
MD Anderson Cancer Center@MDAndersonNews
RT @CancerFrontline: An @MDAndersonNews team developed a personalized vaccine that exposes evasive colorectal cancer to an immune attack ht…
Discover world-class career opportunities for experienced RNs at the Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital hiring event on 4.26 from noon-3 p.m. Bring several copies of your resume & park free in the visitor parking lot. Learn more: http://pxlme.me/1JA7A6zf
University of Houston@UHouston
RT @UHCougarMGolf: .@UHouston alum & @CBSSports broadcasting great Jim Nantz reacts to being named 2018 Ambassador of Golf CONGRATS, Jim,…
Sneezing, headaches and a stuffy nose always means you have allergies right? Wrong! https://t.co/wf8ti3TKVw
Baylor College of MedicineBaylorCollegeOfMedicine
Congratulations to Dr. Yingbin Fu on earning the Helen Juanita Reed Award for Macular Degeneration from the BrightFocus Foundation.
New Mexico Veterans set sights on Golden Age Games competition - Volunteers needed for 32nd annual event in Albuquerque https://t.co/gS2J3VC4HZ via @Sports4Vets on #VAntagePoint
Telehealth education is on the move in Colorado https://t.co/KgB6D7Xt37 via @KREX5_Fox4
It's a new day at your Manchester VA https://t.co/lDrYdgumuw via @seacoastonline
How can you make the last day of class even better? Bring some cute animals to campus! 🐰
Did you know #stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and leading cause of disability in the U.S.? Come to our Stomp Out Stroke Festival from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Sat., April 28 @DiscoveryGreen to find out how to decrease your stroke risk. Register at https://t.co/PBNoFVY455. https://t.co/sYm9Ny734p
RT @UTHealthSPA: FYI >>> NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices for April 20, 2018 https://t.co/VXvK9WVKy4 #grant #grants #research
RT @uthpsychiatry: The UTHealth Center of Excellence on Mood Disorders is conducting a new clinical research study for adults with schizoph…
U.S. Department of Veterans AffairsVeteransAffairs
Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran Tammie Jo Shults. Tammie Jo served for 10 years as a pilot and earned the rank of lieutenant commander. Tammie Jo grew up on a New Mexico ranch near Holloman Air Force Base where she developed her interest in flying. She attended MidAmerica Nazarene University, graduating in 1983. A year after taking the Navy aviation exam, Tammie Jo found a recruiter who processed her application. She attended officer candidate school in Pensacola, Florida, and was assigned to a training squadron at Naval Air Station Chase Field in Beeville, Texas. Tammie Jo was an instructor pilot, teaching students how to fly the Navy T-2 trainer. She later flew the A-7 Corsair in Lemoore, California. Tammie Jo was among the first female fighter pilots for the Navy and was the first woman to fly an F/A-18 Hornet. In 1993, after 10 years of service, she left the Navy. Earlier this week, Tammie Jo completed the successful emergency landing of Southwest flight 1380 at the Philadelphia International Airport. The Boeing 737-700 lost an engine, causing shrapnel to strike a window. With 148 people on board, one woman died and seven were injured. Thank you for your service, Tammie Jo.
TAMU Health Sciences@TAMHSC
We are proud to "Teal Out" in support of #StepInStandUp! Even one such incident is too many. https://t.co/NQdJ5UyHkA