We receive questions every day regarding the use of medical infrared imaging (MIR aka DITI). Most of these questions are generated by the vast amount of misinformation found on the internet. MIR is an incredible technology with a great deal of good to offer the health of every person. However, this misinformation can lead to the misuse of this lifesaving technology. As health care professionals we are extremely concerned about what we are hearing and seeing. Education is the ultimate answer to this problem. With quality education, founded in research and following accepted standards and guidelines, the proper application of MIR benefits everyone. With quality instruction comes quality thermal imaging. We hope that the following will help to dispel the misinformation we see on the internet and bring about an understanding of how this lifesaving technology may benefit you.

THERMOGRAPHY BASICS – 

What is thermography (medical infrared imaging)?

Thermography entails the use of specialised cameras that are sensitive to the detection of electromagnetic energy (light) in the infrared wavelengths (heat). As such, these imagers serve as a remote sensing system; nothing touches or harms the object under investigation. When the camera’s detectors sense the incoming infrared heat an electrical signal is produced that generates a visible image display. Thermography, or infrared imaging, is used in numerous fields such as industrial fabrication, astronomy, building construction, military applications, surveillance, aerospace sciences, and of course medicine. Medical infrared imaging (MIR) entails the use of high-resolution infrared cameras and sophisticated computer processing to produce a topographic heat map display which bears a resemblance to the visible image of the body. Modern computerized thermography produces an accurate and reproducible high-resolution image that can be analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively for minute changes in skin surface heat emissions. MIR is applied in the clinical environment as an aid in the diagnostic process. It is used for the thermal analysis of patients with various conditions in acute, chronic, and preventative health care.

Is medical infrared imaging safe?

Yes! Infrared imaging (or thermography) uses no radiation or intravenous access and does not touch the body. The procedure is painless, completely safe, and FDA approved as an adjunctive imaging procedure (to be used in addition to other tests). Infrared imaging does not replace any other form of imaging (e.g. CT, MRI, mammography), but is designed to be used in addition to other tests to provide physiological information that cannot be obtained from any other examination procedure.

Is it true that MIR is only experimental and not approved by the FDA?

No! Based upon the available research data at the time, the U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare (HEW) determined that thermography was beyond the experimental stage in 1972. Thermography (MIR) was approved as an adjunctive imaging procedure by the FDA in 1982 (Federal Register, Vol 47, No. 20, pp 4419-4420, January 29, 1982). The FDA approved MIR as:“Telethermographic systems intended for adjunctive diagnostic screening for the detection of breast cancer or other uses” (Code of Federal Regulations – Title 21, Section 884.2980 Telethermographic Systems).

What makes MIR so different from other medical imaging technologies?

What most of us are accustomed to when we think of medical imaging is the use of X-ray, CT, MRI, or ultrasound. All of these imaging tools are considered structural imaging technologies; they look inside the body for structural changes such as broken bones, tumors, damage to organs, etc. What separates these technologies from infrared imaging is that MIR detects infrared (heat) markers that reflect the body’s subtle underlying chemical and nervous system signals. This allows us to look at how the body is functioning. These neurochemical signals may be the only sign that a problem exists, a remnant of injury indicating that healing has not finished, or a signal sent far in advance of significant damage to the body. Other tests may say whether or not a tumor is present, but infrared imaging may offer a warning for many of the health problems that ruin our quality of life. With this information in hand, you and your health care provider can outline a method for treating a current problem or possibly preventing future problems before they cause irreversible damage. Many patients are also confused with regard to their condition. For example, patients with chronic pain who have had treatment with little or no relief may have been treated for the wrong condition. Infrared imaging has helped many patients get to the cause of their condition so that proper treatment can be rendered. The applications of MIR are broad and range from simple soft tissue injury to a risk assessment marker for breast abnormalities. It is important to note that infrared imaging, like other imaging procedures (e.g. CT, MRI, mammography, ultrasound) does not provide a diagnosis. Infrared imaging cannot be used as a “body scan” to search for metastasis (the spread of cancer). Infrared imaging is an additional procedure that your doctor can use along with other tests to evaluate your health. Only your physician can provide you with a diagnosis. The following list is just some of the conditions that have associated infrared thermal emission markers: Altered gait manifestations Arteriosclerosis Asthma Brachial Plexus Injury Breast Disease Bursitis Carotid Artery Insufficiency Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Chronic pain Compartment Syndromes Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) Diabetes Disc Syndromes (spinal discogenic pain) Facet Syndrome Fibromyalgia Gallbladder Disease Gastrointestinal Conditions Headache Evaluation (e.g. cervicogenic, migraine, sinus) Herniated Disc/Ruptured Disc Hypesthesia Hyperaesthesia Inflammatory Diseases Intervertebral Disc Disease Ligament Tears Lumbosacral Plexus Injury Lupus (SLE) Muscular Spasm Muscle Tears Myofascial Irritation Myofascial Pain Syndrome Nerve Entrapment Nerve Impingement/Pressure Nerve Root Irritation Nerve Stretch Injury Nerve Trauma Neuritis Neuropathy Neurovascular Compression Paresthesia Peripheral Nerve Abnormalities Pinched Nerves Referred Pain Syndromes Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) Repetitive Strain Injuries Respiratory Conditions Raynaud’s Disease Rheumatoid Arthritis Sacroiliac Ligament Tear Sacroiliac Syndrome Sensory Nerve Abnormalities Sinus Conditions Skin Abnormalities Soft Tissue Injury Spinal Cord Pain/Injury Sports Injuries Stomach Conditions Strain/Sprains Stroke Risk Superficial Vascular Disease Synovitis Temporal Arteritis Tendonitis Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Thyroid Conditions TMJ Dysfunction Trigeminal Neuralgia Trigger Points Whiplash Conditions And many more … Sources: Index Medicus – J Thermology, Acta Thermographica, J Breast

How does MIR help when imaging the breast?

The use of MIR is based on the principle that metabolic activity and vascular circulation in both pre-cancerous tissue and the area surrounding a developing breast cancer is almost always higher than in normal breast tissue. In an ever-increasing need for nutrients, cancerous tumors increase circulation to their cells by holding open existing blood vessels, opening dormant vessels, and creating new ones (neoangiogenesis). This process frequently results in an increase in regional surface temperatures and vascular patterning of the breast. MIR uses ultra-sensitive medical infrared cameras and sophisticated computers to detect, analyse, and produce high-resolution images of these temperature variations and vascular patterns. Because of MIR’s extreme sensitivity, these thermovascular variations may be among the earliest signs of breast cancer or a pre-cancerous state of the breast (3,6,7,8,9) While mammography, ultrasound, MRI, and other structural imaging tools rely primarily on finding the physical tumor, medical infrared imaging is based on detecting the heat produced by increased blood vessel circulation and metabolic changes associated with a tumor’s genesis and growth. By detecting minute variations in blood vessel activity, infrared imaging may find thermal signs suggesting a pre-cancerous state of the breast or the presence an early tumor that is not yet large enough to be detected by physical examination, mammography, or other types of structural imaging (3,6,7,8,9). Studies also show that an abnormal infrared image is the single most important marker of high risk for developing breast cancer, 10 times more significant than a family history of the disease (5).Consequently, in patients with a persistent abnormal thermogram, the examination results become a marker of higher future cancer risk (4,5). Depending upon certain factors, re-examinations are performed at appropriate intervals to monitor the breasts. This gives a woman time to take a pro-active approach by working with her doctor to improve her breast health. By maintaining close monitoring of her breast health with the combined use of infrared imaging, self-breast exams, clinical examinations, mammography, and other tests, a woman has a much better chance of detecting cancer at its earliest stage and preventing invasive tumor growth. 1. American Cancer Society – Breast Cancer Guidelines and Statistics, 2009-2010 2. I. Nyirjesy, M.D. et al; Clinical Evaluation, Mammography and Thermography in the Diagnosis of Breast Carcinoma. Thermology, 1986; 1: 170-173. 3. M. Gautherie, Ph.D.; Thermobiological Assessment of Benign and Malignant Breast Diseases. Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol., 1983; V 147, No. 8: 861-869. 4. C. Gros, M.D., M. Gautherie, Ph.D.; Breast Thermography and Cancer Risk Prediction. Cancer, 1980; V 45, No. 1: 51-56. 5. P. Haehnel, M.D., M. Gautherie, Ph.D. et al; Long-Term Assessment of Breast Cancer Risk by Thermal Imaging. In: Biomedical Thermology, 1980; 279-301. 6. P. Gamigami, M.D.; Atlas of Mammography: New Early Signs in Breast Cancer. Blackwell Science, 1996. 7. J. Keyserlingk, M.D.; Time to Reassess the Value of Infrared Breast Imaging? Oncology News Int., 1997; V 6, No. 9. 8. P.Ahlgren, M.D., E. Yu, M.D., J. Keyserlingk, M.D.; Is it Time to Reassess the Value of Infrared Breast Imaging? Primary Care & Cancer (NCI), 1998; V 18, No. 2. 9. N. Belliveau, M.D., J. Keyserlingk, M.D. et al ; Infrared Imaging of the Breast: Initial Reappraisal Using High-Resolution Digital Technology in 100 Successive Cases of Stage I and II Breast Cancer. Breast Journal, 1998; V 4, No. 4

Is infrared imaging of the body an alternative to X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, CT or any other type of imaging?

The use of MIR is based on the principle that metabolic activity and vascular circulation in both pre-cancerous tissue and the area surrounding a developing breast cancer is almost always higher than in normal breast tissue. In an ever-increasing need for nutrients, cancerous tumors increase circulation to their cells by holding open existing blood vessels, opening dormant vessels, and creating new ones (neoangiogenesis). This process frequently results in an increase in regional surface temperatures and vascular patterning of the breast. MIR uses ultra-sensitive medical infrared cameras and sophisticated computers to detect, analyse, and produce high-resolution images of these temperature variations and vascular patterns. Because of MIR’s extreme sensitivity, these thermovascular variations may be among the earliest signs of breast cancer or a pre-cancerous state of the breast (3,6,7,8,9) While mammography, ultrasound, MRI, and other structural imaging tools rely primarily on finding the physical tumor, medical infrared imaging is based on detecting the heat produced by increased blood vessel circulation and metabolic changes associated with a tumor’s genesis and growth. By detecting minute variations in blood vessel activity, infrared imaging may find thermal signs suggesting a pre-cancerous state of the breast or the presence an early tumor that is not yet large enough to be detected by physical examination, mammography, or other types of structural imaging (3,6,7,8,9). Studies also show that an abnormal infrared image is the single most important marker of high risk for developing breast cancer, 10 times more significant than a family history of the disease (5).Consequently, in patients with a persistent abnormal thermogram, the examination results become a marker of higher future cancer risk (4,5). Depending upon certain factors, re-examinations are performed at appropriate intervals to monitor the breasts. This gives a woman time to take a pro-active approach by working with her doctor to improve her breast health. By maintaining close monitoring of her breast health with the combined use of infrared imaging, self-breast exams, clinical examinations, mammography, and other tests, a woman has a much better chance of detecting cancer at its earliest stage and preventing invasive tumor growth. 1. American Cancer Society – Breast Cancer Guidelines and Statistics, 2009-2010 2. I. Nyirjesy, M.D. et al; Clinical Evaluation, Mammography and Thermography in the Diagnosis of Breast Carcinoma. Thermology, 1986; 1: 170-173. 3. M. Gautherie, Ph.D.; Thermobiological Assessment of Benign and Malignant Breast Diseases. Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol., 1983; V 147, No. 8: 861-869. 4. C. Gros, M.D., M. Gautherie, Ph.D.; Breast Thermography and Cancer Risk Prediction. Cancer, 1980; V 45, No. 1: 51-56. 5. P. Haehnel, M.D., M. Gautherie, Ph.D. et al; Long-Term Assessment of Breast Cancer Risk by Thermal Imaging. In: Biomedical Thermology, 1980; 279-301. 6. P. Gamigami, M.D.; Atlas of Mammography: New Early Signs in Breast Cancer. Blackwell Science, 1996. 7. J. Keyserlingk, M.D.; Time to Reassess the Value of Infrared Breast Imaging? Oncology News Int., 1997; V 6, No. 9. 8. P.Ahlgren, M.D., E. Yu, M.D., J. Keyserlingk, M.D.; Is it Time to Reassess the Value of Infrared Breast Imaging? Primary Care & Cancer (NCI), 1998; V 18, No. 2. 9. N. Belliveau, M.D., J. Keyserlingk, M.D. et al ; Infrared Imaging of the Breast: Initial Reappraisal Using High-Resolution Digital Technology in 100 Successive Cases of Stage I and II Breast Cancer. Breast Journal, 1998; V 4, No. 4

Does MIR replace mammograms?

Absolutely not! However, do mammograms replace MIR? The answer to this is also a resounding no; the two tests complement each other. Thermography is adjunctive, it is to be used in addition to mammography as part of a woman’s regular breast health care. The consensus among health care experts is that no one procedure or method of imaging is solely adequate for breast cancer screening. The false negative and positive rates for currently used examination tests (including MIR) are too high for the procedures to be used alone. However, MIR may pick up thermal markers that may indicate the risk of cancers not detected by other tests. A positive infrared image is also the single most important marker of high risk for developing breast cancer in the future. It is MIR’s unique ability to monitor the abnormal temperature (physiological) and blood vessel changes produced by pathological breast tissue that allows for extremely early detection. Since it has been determined that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer, we should use every means possible to detect these tumors when there is the greatest chance for survival. Adding these tests together significantly increases the chance for early detection. Keep in mind that no one test or imaging technology can provide a warning for 100% of all cases. As such, all tests and imaging technologies are adjunctive. As an example, no doctor would tell a woman that all she needs is a mammogram and that she does not need to come in for her yearly physical breast exam. All doctors know that a certain number of breast cancers will be detected on a physical exam of the breasts and not detected on a mammogram. As such, a mammogram is also adjunctive – it must be used along with a yearly physical exam of the breast. Another example of this “adjunctive” principle is the all too common experience of women having their yearly physical breast exam followed by their mammogram and then having to have a follow-up ultrasound to check on something seen on the mammogram. Now we are up to three “adjunctive” exams before a woman is told that everything looks fine. Now in some cases, if something needs to be watched on the mammogram and/or ultrasound, a woman might need to be called back in 6 months for another mammogram. MIR might be the added technology that calls attention to something that needs a closer look. It should be understood that all of these imaging technologies (MIR included) cannot tell you if you have breast cancer. They only provide a certain amount of suspicion based on what the individual technologies “see”. Only a biopsy can tell you if you have breast cancer.  There just isn’t one single magic bullet that will do it all. As such, the best approach to providing every woman with the best in early breast cancer detection is a multi-modal approach (multiple modality – multiple tests).

I have seen websites that say that thermography can detect problems with the stomach, colon, heart, immune system, female reproductive organs, prostate, and other internal organs. The easy answer here is no. Thermography can only detect heat to a depth of 5mm from the surface of the body. As such, thermography cannot see into the cranial vault, thoracic cavity, abdomen, or pelvic areas. Remember the “visible man” model for kids? It had a clear plastic outer shell so that you could see the internal organs. With thermography, one cannot simply create a “visible man” image with heat at the surface of the body and think that you can transpose it to underlying anatomical structures. We have seen infrared images like this, but they are completely false and misleading. Now, if an internal organ is damaged enough it may send a neural reflex message to the surface of the body creating an infrared marker (viscerosomatic reflex). This surface signal is rarely associated with the location of the underlying organ and is usualy found in a remote location that only a well-trained board certified thermologist knows to look for. The problem is that by the time an internal organ is sending this signal there is usually a fair amount of damage. In some cases MIR may been able to warn patients that something might be wrong, but the technology is not sensitive enough to be used for screening as an early warning for internal disorders. There are much better tests and imaging tools that can provide for the early detection of pathologies of this type. If you are concerned about a possible internal disorder, or the spread of cancer (metastasis), there are tests and imaging technologies that are better suited for this purpose. Please see your doctor for the most appropriate tests for your condition.

THERMAL IMAGING INTERPRETATION – 

What should I look for in choosing a qualified interpreting thermologist?

The answer to this question is much the same as choosing a qualified imaging center based on the education of the technician – it’s all about tracing the lineage of the thermologist. What association credentialed the thermologist? How long has it been around? Who are the founding officers? What is their lineage? This does not mean that new associations cannot provide good instruction. However, you would need to trace the lineage of their founding officers and instructors. Now let’s get specific. Who were the thermologist’s instructors? What is their lineage? Is the thermologist part of a group that just placed letters behind their names or did they earn their board certification through examination and years of field experience from an association of instructors that can trace their lineage? Does the interpreting thermologist use the internationally accepted TH grading standard for interpreting breast thermograms? Are the reports clear with regard to recommended follow-up tests? Like other doctors who have undergone a quality education in clinical thermology, Dr. Amalu underwent instruction that encompassed many hours of post-graduate classroom instruction, two years of supervised field experience, hundreds of sets of images co-read by a thermologist instructor, a written examination and a practical examination before earning his board certification. In order to immerse himself in the interpretation of thermal breast images, Dr. Amalu spent another two years of mentoring under the personal tutelage of the world’s leading expert in this field Dr. William Hobbins, MD, FACS.

What kind of doctor can provide interpretation of thermograms?

With radiology, DCs (Doctors of Chiropractic), MDs (Medical Doctors), and DOs (Doctors of Osteopathy) can become radiologists. Just as with radiology, DCs, MDs, and DOs can become thermologists. All of these doctors have the clinical acumen necessary to take additional training to become radiologists or thermologists.

Are there standards and guidelines for the interpretation of thermograms?

Absolutely! How could any medical imaging technology provide service without standards and guidelines? Quality peer-reviewed and published research studies performed in leading universities have established a normative database of objective topographic thermal gradients and temperature values. Almost 10,000 references exist in the literature using this normative database to examine for pathology. With regard to breast thermography, over 800 references exist in the literature to support the standards and guidelines under which breast thermograms are interpreted. All breast thermogram reports should contain a TH (thermobiological) grading of each breast. If a report does not grade each breast into one of 5 TH grades, the competency of the interpreting thermologist comes into question. The TH grading system was devised in order to provide a method for the universal interpretation of both qualitative and quantitative thermal data and to use this data to convey the level of risk and concern. Without a grading system there would also be no way to objectively monitor the progression of possible pathology or provide an objective indicator of improvement of the health of the breasts under medical care. The TH grading system has been in place since the early 1980’s. The American College of Radiology (ACR) established the BIRADS (Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System) grading system for mammography in order to provide the same information when interpreting a mammogram, MRI, or ultrasound of the breast. The ACR states the following: “The BI-RADS provides standardized breast imaging findings terminology, report organization, assessment structure and a classification system for mammography, ultrasound and MRI of the breast. The report organization enables radiologists to provide a succinct review of mammography, ultrasound and MRI findings and to communicate the results to the referring physician in a clear and consistent fashion with a final assessment and a specific course of action.” MIR imaging uses the TH grading system to accomplish the same objectives.

Why do reports need to be clear on exactly what follow up tests are needed?

If a thermologist sees something on a thermogram that needs further study, recommendations for specific follow-up tests and or examinations become a very important part of a thermogram report. Take a look at mammogram, ultrasound, MRI, and other imaging reports as examples for specific recommendations for follow-up tests. For example, you may see recommendations for follow-up ultrasounds or biopsies on mammogram reports. What you will not see is an ambiguous recommendation for the patient to simply see their doctor. This is not the standard of care (see the BIRADS definition above). A good report will make specific recommendations that will convey the level of concern to the patient and their doctor along with the next likely step to take. This is what the patient’s doctor wants and expects to see on a properly written report.

When I get my report will you provide me with treatment recommendations?

Absolutely not! As a thermologist providing MIR interpretations it is my duty to NOT intervene in treatment. Your treatment must be directed by your primary care physician and/or medical specialist(s). Even though I am a doctor who provides patient care on a daily basis, do I know your complete health history? Have I reviewed all of your recent and past laboratory exams? Do I know all of the medications, supplements, herbals, etc. you are taking? Have I consulted with or at least have your complete health history from all the other health care providers/specialists involved in your care? Have I provided you with a recent physical examination to be sure of certain health markers? Can you imagine the level of irresponsibility a doctor would have to undertake to make treatment recommendations simply off the findings of a thermogram? There is a real possibility here that a patient could be seriously injured or worse. As a doctor, who is also a thermologist, I would never write a report containing recommendations for treatment. The findings and recommendations on the report are sufficient enough for your doctor to use in providing care. Have you ever seen a radiologist recommend anything other than further follow-up testing on a mammogram, X-ray, CT, ultrasound, or MRI report?

I’ve heard that there are computer programs that can read thermograms. I think that we need to clarify this question first. If you are asking if there is an FDA approved computer program that will read the images and create a report without a board certified thermologist also reading the images, the answer is no. There is no place anywhere in health care where a machine provides interpretation of a test and creates a report without a doctor’s interpretation of the results. Have you ever seen a report from any imaging procedure that did not have a doctor’s signature (electronic or otherwise)? This is completely unacceptable in health care. Also, can you imagine the liability! No company would be foolish enough to want to accept this level of responsibility for their software program. On the other hand, there are quite a few experimental programs currently being studied that are designed to aid thermologists when interpreting thermograms. However, we are not aware of any programs that have been proven to be accurate and approved by the FDA. As such, there is no adequate research proving that any of these programs are of value to the thermologist. These programs are designed to work just like the FDA approved programs presently being used to aid radiologists when reading mammograms (e.g. ImageChecker). Dr. Amalu is currently working with a group of experts in the field of remote sensing to create one of these digital CAD (computer aided detection) programs for use in MIR. However, a bit more time and a great deal of research will be needed before seeking FDA approval. On a side note, research has shown that the skill level of radiologists in detecting suspicious areas on a mammogram is far greater than that of the CAD programs designed to aid them. It’s nice to know that we humans are still better than machines.

I’ve been told that when doing a breast thermogram a cold-challenge must be done. The use of the cold-challenge (placing the patient’s hands in ice-water, using ice mitts, or using ice packs placed on the mid-back) was stopped in the late 1980’s. The research at the time showed that using the cold-challenge did not increase the sensitivity or specificity of breast thermography. What we are finding is that some offices have websites telling women that they should never go to any office or imaging center that is not doing the cold-challenge. We have no idea why they are doing this as this is simply false information. Fortunately, the number of offices we see doing this is decreasing. Back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s the problem was so bad that Dr. William Hobbins (the leading expert in breast thermography) encouraged Dr. Amalu to review his database of cold-challenges and present a paper at the yearly symposium of the American Academy of Thermology (AAT). Dr. Hobbins and other experts in this field were concerned that these misleading offices were claiming that experts in this field were missing things by not performing breast thermography correctly. The paper went on to be presented at the international conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. The end result was acceptance of the paper for peer-review and publication. As recently as 2013, the AAT formed a standards and guidelines committee that included Dr. Amalu, along with Dr. William Hobbins and a group of experts in this field, to review the current status of breast thermography and create an updated internationally peer-reviewed standards and guidelines document. With regard to the cold-challenge, a review of the literature along with a consensus among the experts reaffirmed that the cold-challenge did not improve the sensitivity or specificity of breast thermography; and as such, its use was not necessary to provide accurate medical infrared imaging of the breast.

NEW CUTTING-EDGE THERMOGRAPHY SYSTEMS – 

What about the new thermography systems I have heard of?

From time-to-time we see new MIR systems that make claims to significant superiority to the current imaging systems. What we find is that these systems are usually using methodologies that are untested and/or ignore the laws of thermodynamics. One of the most misleading of these “new” infrared imaging technologies is the claim of being able to look deep into the body. One of the problems we see are the use of imaging equipment in a manner that either introduces thermal artifacts or temperature measurement errors. This alone causes inaccurate data collection and interpretation errors. Another cause of errors comes in the form of unproven software interpretation programs that are used without a board certified thermologist interpreting the images. There is no place in healthcare where a machine provides an interpretation of a medical imaging procedure without a board certified radiologist or thermologist reading the images and signing the report (see previous topic above). Software programs such as ImageChecker (e.g. use in mammography) are used to assist the radiologist, but are not used alone. The current MIR imaging system standards and interpretation guidelines have been established for over 34 years. These equipment and interpretation standards and guidelines have been continually monitored and updated by experts in this field through major associations worldwide. We are currently using the state-of-the-art in MIR imaging systems and interpretation methodologies. This involves MIR imaging systems that can withstand the scrutiny of the finest engineers in infrared sciences and the interpretation expertise from highly educated board certified thermologists.

I have heard that with certain newer imaging systems pre-imaging acclimation is no longer needed.

The sophistication of an MIR imaging system has nothing to do with human physiology. All patients must undergo 15 minutes of acclimation in an environmentally controlled room.

It doesn’t matter what type of imaging system you have, if you have been driving with your arm out the window and the AC blowing on the other side of your face you cannot be suddenly placed in front of a heat sensing camera to take images. When going from a hot environment to a cool one, and vice versa, the body needs to become attuned to the environment in order to express accurate thermal information. Clothing will also leave marks on the surface of the body (thermal artifacts) that have to be removed before imaging can take place. You could have the most accurate and sensitive thermometer in the world, drink a hot cup of coffee and stick the thermometer in your mouth. Do you think that you would get an accurate representation of temperature?

Are there any research papers I can read about thermography?

There are approximately 10,000 literature citations regarding the use of thermography in the clinical setting. Over 800 research papers alone are focused on the uses of MIR in evaluating the breast.

Considering the enormous amount of research available regarding the use of MIR, we would recommend that you avail yourself of Medline and your local medical school library.

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