Investigation of multimodal imaging in optical and radiodiagnostics


The project aims at creating the prerequisites for multimodal imaging by adapting the optical instruments and processes like registration, colour coding and transparency of the cross-fade as well as carrying out a clinical test series to validate the improved possibilities to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis following an optimization of the imaging parameters.

Project Proposal

In optical rheumatism diagnostics two more methods have become established besides tomographic approaches. Applying the first method, the PIP joint to be examined is transilluminated by a point source (a laser diode or LED) and the scattered light mapped by a CCD camera. This method is already being tested in clinical practice. The more expensive photon density waves (PDW) technology, however, so far remains restricted to laboratory experiments, although its spatial resolution is somewhat higher.

With their specific spatial resolution and the combined imaging methods of deconvolution and segmentation, these two processes permit the progress of the disease to be diagnosed.

The assessment of scattered light images has not been a subject in the training of radiologists and general practitioners, yet. A multimodal representation of conventional radiograms combined with scattered light images may overcome this threshold of the visual habits. Moreover, radiograms and scattered light images complement each other in terms of their spatial resolution and thus are genuinely predestined for multimodal imaging.

Similar to the meanwhile established combined PET/CT method, the new combined laser/radiography process may lead to a qualitatively new stage of diagnostic reliability, with the radiograms providing information on the structure including any signs of rheumatism which may be disclosed and the scattered light images providing functional statements.

In a fused imaging experiment on a human hand, which was among the first of its kind, both rheumatologists and radiologists expressly confirmed the hypothesis that the diagnostic value of this method had distinctly improved compared to the separate assessment of radiograms and optical images.

Establishing a correct diagnosis is facilitated if but one modality shows abnormalities because the exact spatial and functional correlation is essential for the assessment of the disease progress or for a differential diagnosis. Any negative findings are backed up by a fused image, as well.

For this reason methodological investigations and subsequent trend analyses should be made to find out if this multimodal imaging principle, yet established in radiology, will be of advantage to future combined laser and radiogram use in optical RA diagnostics and if diagnostic guidelines can be set up in follow-up studies.