Frequently Asked Questions About DITI

Frequently Asked Questions About DITI

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DITI, or "Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging" is an imaging technique for measuring and displaying body temperature. It is radiometric; it measures temperatures. It relies on the principal that all objects at a temperature above 0 ° K (absolute zero) radiate infrared energy. The amount of radiation is a function of the body's physiology. Inframed's DITI camera captures and records this energy and converts it to an image that can be viewed on a computer. Temperature data is digitized and retained for analysis and archiving.
Because we have optimized for sensitivity within the range of human physiological temperature.
Cold stressing is a test to measure sympathetic function, It is a useful test for a number of conditions including RSD (CRPS). Protocols used with the Inframed system for breast screening do not require routine cold stressing but it may be requested by a referring physician or reading thermologist.
Nowadays there is no difference in resolution between color and grayscale with modern digitized images. When images were viewed on an old TV screen, it took three phosphors on the cathode ray tube to make one color dot….. it only takes one phosphor to make a shade of grey, the resolution in black and white therefore, would be three times greater than it was in color.
 Just about all modern cameras provide high-definition images.  The ‘definition’of a thermogram relates to how many individual temperature measurements are taken to build the image. The actual definition is not as important as how accurate and sensitive those temperature measurements are. The higher the definition, the better the picture will look but this does not mean that the accuracy is any better. Describing a thermogram as ‘high definition’maybe confusing and misleading as most so-called high-definition images are produced by software manipulation of the data. Low definition would be considered below 160 x 120 pixels. Industry standard is between 160 x 120 up to  320 x 240 pixels. High-definition would be considered above this and can be as high as 640 x 512 pixels.
The most accurate result we can produce is change over time. Before we can start to evaluate any changes, we need to establish an accurate and stable baseline for you. This baseline represents your unique thermal fingerprint, which will only be altered by developing pathology. A baseline cannot be established with only one study, as we would have no way of knowing if this is your normal pattern or if it is actually changing at the time of the first exam. By comparing two studies three months apart we are able to judge if your breast physiology is stable and suitable to be used as your normal baseline and safe for continued annual screening.

The reason a three-month interval is used relates to the period of time it takes for blood vessels to show change…… a period of time less than three months may miss significant change…….. a period of time much more than three months can miss significant change that may have already taken place.

There is NO substitute for establishing an accurate baseline. A single study cannot do this.
First, there are a couple of resolutions that apply to IR cameras. There's spatial resolution and there's thermal resolution. Spatial resolution is related to the number of pixels in an image. This is analogous to today's digital cameras and their number of pixels/picture, e.g. 2 megapixel vs. 3 megapixel vs. 4 megapixel, etc. For many or most applications 2 megapixels will provide excellent pictures for most settings in fact unless you try to zoom in you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between 2, 3 or 4 megapixels. However, you will find a significant difference in image file sizes and camera costs. The point here is that the 2 megapixel camera will work perfectly well for routine picture taking. Using IR cameras for scanning humans works much the same way. The human body doesn't exhibit significant temperature changes over very small areas. The skin tends to form a continuous surface and heat spreads out smoothly over large areas. In fact research has shown that good pattern recognition could be performed with IR cameras having resolutions as low as 160 pixels by 160 pixels ( total pixels~26,000).

Thermal resolution is a measure of a camera to detect very small temperature differences. Say for example one wanted to see 0.25 ° C differences on a surface, you would need a camera capable of detecting much smaller differences. As a practical matter, the human body has a typical surface temperature ranging from just over 30 ° C to around 38 ° C. Temperature variations on an individual will fall into that range of temperatures. Inframed cameras are optimized for viewing this temperature range. The color scale is set so that maximum contrast can be achieved to show findings that relate to pathologies that would not otherwise be seen.

Want smooth images- use 256 color steps.

Want maximum contrast use 8 degree C range and 16 color steps.

Inframed's extensive testing protocols are designed to work with the 8 degree thermal window and 16 colors of the Medical Map.
Yes! Stability is the characteristic in a system that allows you to accurately perform comparative studies over time …. (minutes / hours / weeks / years) to detect any changes . It is because the Inframed camera has such excellent stability that screening breast studies can be performed with confidence; it is due to this stability that certified thermologists (MD's) can reliably analyze images statistically and provide reports to the thermographer?
We do give you the choice of many different color displays including the smooth looking 250 color scale. Our default color scale uses 16 colors that make visual identification of temperature differences easier and enhances pattern recognition.
There is a trade off between speed and sensitivity / accuracy which applies to all systems. The Inframed Pro system uses two scanning speeds that give the best combination of speed, sensitivity and accuracy so you don't have to pay for speed that you don't need! The Inframed IRIS system does deliver real time speed (30 frames per second) and provides sufficient sensitivity for medical imaging.
 There are several broad categories of imagers. They can be lumped into groups as follows:

Single detector/scanning systems, scanned/linear array and staring or focal plane array. Each has characteristics somewhat unique to itself, but each can be made to read temperatures (radiometric).

Scanning systems use a single detector and have a scanning mechanism in the optical path which allows an image to be constructed. A major benefit to this approach is that the single element is making all the measurements. Differences in element sensitivities or bad elements, which occur in focal plane array devices, don't occur thus thermal uniformity is quite good. The downside to scanning cameras is they take longer to image, but for stationary objects where temperatures aren't changing rapidly (as with medical imaging) this is a non-issue. 

Focal Plane Array or staring array cameras (FPA's) have the benefit of providing fast scanning. Images are formed in "real-time". Each element in the detector array corresponds to a pixel element in the displayed image. Until recently, FPA's required cooling to be useful. Liquid nitrogen was used for a long time. Today closed cycle Sterling Coolers are frequently employed. Downsides to these cameras are expensive replacement cost for coolers and the fact that there are dead pixel elements and different sensitivities across the detector which must be compensated for (or assigned a value).

A new type of FPA, one that doesn't require the Sterling cooler, is becoming more popular. This is known as the micro-bolometer. It has the same issue with dead or lower sensitivity elements.

This type of detector is really a hybrid of the other two. It uses a linear array, offers higher scanning speed than the Scanning detector, but considerably slower than the Focal Plane Array detectors. To some degree it suffers from the bad pixel syndrome but since there are fewer active elements it's a smaller issue. It also needs a cooler, which can be a costly maintenance item.

The third style, the linear array, uses a line of detectors which are scanned. This is a cross between a scanned single element and a focal plane array. It provides marginally faster scans but also has some of the same bad pixel issues. Currently, linear array cameras use detectors that require mechanical coolers or use Liquid Nitrogen as the cooling element. Images, after averaging, can be quite good

Both FPA's and Linear array cameras have noisier displayed images and are generally averaged before saving an image. Signal averaging ads to the overall acquisition time thus reducing the seeming advantage over scanning systems.
Inframed provides technician training courses that are approved by the American College of Clinical Thermology Inc.
No. Anyone with computer skills can be trained as a thermography technician.
Firstly, there is no necessity for learning to interpret images. With the Inframed system you have access to an online interpreting service that is staffed by fully certified MD's. If you do wish to interpret and report images, Thermology courses are conducted by the American College of Clinical Thermology, 300 hours is required for board eligibility.
 Thermal drift refers to the fluctuation of temperature measurements in most industrial cameras. This can be caused by many contributing factors but is most often related to uncooled technology; no reference point! Medical DITI must have stability for comparison of contralateral images and for change over time. Thermal drift takes the accuracy and sensitivity down to levels that are not acceptable for medical applications. Thermal drift can also be caused by poor quality detector cores and startup stabilization time.

Bottom line: the absolute temperature being recorded may change up or down by whatever the drift factor is. 

Inframed developed a stable reference point within the camera that is used to calibrate each and every temperature measurement to a sensitivity of 1/100th of a degree C. (0.01°C). This solved the problem of thermal drift in Medical Applications. If we had to give a figure I would say 0.01°C to no drift

DITI Diagnose, fibrocysts perceive the smallest physiological change, such as inflammation, vascular disease, inflammation and breast cancer.

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