Easier Diagnosis with New Ultrasound Method


For the first time ever, a new ultrasound technique can measure the level of tension in human tissue. Developed by researchers at the University of Sheffield, it is a key indicator of disease.

This breakthrough by Dr Artur Gower and other researchers could be used to build ultrasound machines that may be able to diagnose abnormal tissue, scarring, and cancer.

Sound waves are used in ultrasounds to create images of organs inside the human body. However, the current imaging techniques do not diagnose whether the tissue is abnormal. Hence, to make this diagnosis better, the researchers developed a way to measure forces, for example, tension with the help of an ultrasound machine. Moreover, all living tissues generate tension. So, measuring it can help indicate if the tissues are functioning properly or if they are affected by the disease.

A technique was harnessed by researchers from a rail project at the University of Sheffield. It used sound waves to measure tension along railway lines. Furthermore, both rail and medical ultrasound were used, which relies on a simple principle. “The greater the tension, the faster the sound waves propagate.”

This principle was taken into consideration when the researchers developed a method that sends two sound waves in different directions. Furthermore, after this, the tension is linked with the speed of the waves using mathematical theories developed by the researchers.

Previously, the struggle was to differentiate between stiff tissues and tissue under tension using ultrasound. This technique is the first of its kind, capable of measuring tension in any type of soft tissue without any details about it.

Dr Artur Gower said,

When you go to the hospital, a doctor might use an ultrasound device to create an image of an organ, such as your liver, or another part of your body, such as the gut, to help them explore what the cause of a problem might be. One of the limitations of ultrasounds used in healthcare now is that the image alone is not enough to diagnose whether any of your tissues are abnormal.

He further added,

What we’ve done in our research is develop a new way of using ultrasound to measure the level of tension in tissue. This level of detail can tell us whether tissues are abnormal or if they are affected by scarring or disease. This technique is the first time that ultrasound can be used to measure forces inside tissue, and it could now be used to build new ultrasound machines capable of diagnosing abnormal tissue and disease earlier.


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