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22 July 2003 Resonant Raman detectors for noninvasive assessment of carotenoid antioxidants in human tissue
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Carotenoid antioxidants form an important part of the human body's anti-oxidant system and are thought to play an important role in disease prevention. Studies have shown an inverse correlation between high dietary intake of carotenoids and risk of certain cancers, heart disease and degenerative diseases. For example, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are present in high concentrations in the human retina, are thought to prevent age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly in the Western world. We have developed various clinical prototype instruments, based on resonance Raman spectroscopy, that are able to measure carotenoid levels directly in the tissue of interest. At present we use the Raman technology to quantify carotenoid levels in the human retina, in skin, and in the oral cavity. We use resonant excitation of the π-conjugated molecules in the visible wavelength range and detect the molecules' carbon-carbon stretch frequencies. The spectral properties of the various carotenoids can be explored to selectively measure in some cases individual carotenoid species linked ot the prevention of cancer, in human skin. The instrumentation involves home-built, compact, high-throughput Raman systems capable of measuring physiological carotenoid concentrations in human subjects rapidly and quantitatively. The instruments have been demonstrated for field use and screening of tissue carotenoid status in large populations. In Epidemiology, the technology holds promise as a novel, noninvasive and objective biomarker of fruit and vegetable uptake.
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Werner Gellermann, Mohsen Sharifzadeh, Maia R. Ermakova, Igor V. Ermakov, and P S Bernstein "Resonant Raman detectors for noninvasive assessment of carotenoid antioxidants in human tissue", Proc. SPIE 4958, Advanced Biomedical and Clinical Diagnostic Systems, (22 July 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.477865;

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