By Decker, C.
Science News , Vol. 137, No. 13
Vibration imaging: Sounding out tumors
Two researchers are tooting their own horn to detect cancerous tumors. The new technique, called doppler vibration imaging, is the first to use a horn's low-frequency sound waves to create vibrations that distinguish between hard and soft tissues, they say. Malignant tumors are more rigid and vibrate less rapidly than surrounding healthy tissues, offering a potentially useful diagnostic clue.
Tumors embedded in soft tissues such as the prostate, breast, liver and spleen often escape early detection because they can't be seen or felt, says Kevin J. Parker, who developed the imaging technique with Robert M. Lerner. The two University of Rochester scientists describe their work in the April ULTRASOUND IN MEDICINE AND BIOLOGY.
Like conventional ultrasound, doppler vibration uses sound waves to image targeted tissues in the body. Ultrasound, however, bombards tissues with inaudible sound waves at more than 20,000 hertz, and the echoes returning from tumors and healthy tissues can be identical, leaving the tumor undetected, Lerner says. …