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Fields & Applications Spectroscopy, Clinical, Forensics, Environmental, Food, Beverage & Agriculture

A Little “Light” Reading

Root of the Matter

A recent proof-of-concept study analyzed the impact of sodium hypochlorite – the medication of choice for root canal therapy – on dental collagen. FTIR spectroscopy confirmed that the compound causes degradation in the collagen structure. Another reason to take good care of your teeth…

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Bad Blood

Raman continues to make its mark in forensic science; Igor Lednev and Kyle Doty (University of Albany, New York, USA) successfully distinguished between chronological ages of blood donors in a new preliminary study. Unlike sex or race, age is something that clearly cannot be determined through DNA profiling.

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Lucky in Lava

Spectroscopy took a dive lately, when researchers used LIBS to discriminate between samples of rock taken from various volcanoes. Able to identify different regions and sources, handheld LIBS could be a viable option in the field when analyzing and dating geological samples.

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To the Bone

Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers have successfully used Raman spectroscopy to analyze collagen integrity in bones – meeting the need for a non-destructive means to diagnose brittle bone disease.

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Free-from Fries

When the chips are down… it looks like spatially resolved spectroscopy can detect it. Lien Smeesters and his colleagues from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel have developed a new laser scanning technique to find out which potatoes have the lowest amounts of acrylamide – making them most suitable for the production of fries. The technology can scan tons of potatoes per hour.

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Baby Brains

MRI scans can check for brain damage in newborn babies, but doctors often have to wait several days to perform them. However, a team at University College London have discovered a possible alternative that allows earlier screening and treatment – broadband near-infrared spectroscopy. A clinical trial will soon be underway.

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Find it in Your Heart

Could NIR spectroscopy identify patients at risk from angina and acute coronary syndrome? When combined with intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), a team headed by Ron Waksman (MedStar Heart Institute) discovered NIRS was capable of identifying lipid-rich plaque, which is associated with increased risk of certain cardiovascular diseases.

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About the Author

Joanna Cummings

A former library manager and storyteller, I have wanted to write for magazines since I was six years old, when I used to make my own out of foolscap paper and sellotape and distribute them to my family. Since getting my MSc in Publishing, I’ve worked as a freelance writer and content creator for both digital and print, writing on subjects such as fashion, food, tourism, photography – and the history of Roman toilets. Now I can be found working on The Analytical Scientist, finding the ‘human angle’ to cutting-edge science stories.


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