Medhealth Review

Researchers Find A Solution for Imaging Problems Due to Darker Skin

Traditional medical imaging has been in use for a long time. However, a significant drawback has always been present. The effects varied heavily based on skin color. For instance, on darker skin, the effects were not transparent. The results obtained are clear in the case of light-colored skin. 

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It seems, there is new hope in the conventional medical imaging process. A team led by Johns Hopkins University has developed a method for providing precise images of anyone’s internal anatomy, regardless of skin tone.

“When you’re imaging through skin with light, it’s like the elephant in the room that there are important biases and challenges for people with darker skin compared to those with lighter skin tones. Our work demonstrates that equitable imaging technology is possible. The findings are newly published in the journal Photoacoustics. We show not only there is a problem with current methods but, more importantly, what we can do to reduce this bias. There were patients with darker skin tones who were basically being sent home to die because the sensor wasn’t calibrated toward their skin tone, says Muyinatu “Bisi” Bell at Johns Hopkins.

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The researchers were able to offer more precise information on the presence and location of interior biological structures by filtering the undesirable signals from photos of darker skin, similar to how a camera filter sharpens a fuzzy picture. 

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