Shining Light on the Brain: Optics in Medicine


Dr Gemma Bale, UCL


Near-infrared spectroscopy is a technique to monitor changes in brain activity using infrared light. It is becoming an important tool in neuroscience and neurointensive care as it can monitor the activity and health of the brain in a safe, non-ionising, way. Infrared light can travel through the skull and into the brain, which means that we can use spectroscopy to identify molecules within the brain non-invasively. Important physiological molecules such as haemoglobin and cytochrome-c-oxidase, an enzyme within the mitochondria, have oxygenation-dependent spectra so we can monitor changes in blood oxygenation and metabolism using light. This lecture will cover a broad range of topics to reflect the multidisciplinary nature of medical physics. In particular: the physics of light transport through tissue, the engineering of optical medical devices, the physiology of the brain in health and disease, and how these link together. I will show new developments from my own research, brain injury in new-born babies, and discuss the future of optics in medicine

Organised By
IOP London and Southeast Branch
30 Oct 2019 18:00 to 19:30
Institute of Physics
N1 9BU
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