If you’re a parent, you’ve probably asked and wondered if your children have really finished eating their greens. Thanks to researchers at Yale University and the University of Utah, it may soon be simply a matter of whipping out a handheld laser device, taking a quick 30-second palm reading on your child, and then administering the appropriate
The technology is based on the fact that people with high-vegetable diets tend to develop a slightly yellow skin discoloration due to the carotenoids that accumulate in the blood, and that these carotenoid levels can be measured using a well developed technique called resonance Raman spectroscopy (RRS).
The device essentially consists of a blue argon laser connected to a flexible fiber optic probe. The laser is fine tuned to a specific frequency in which carotenoids resonate most strongly and whose levels can be easily measured in about 30 seconds. The data is sent to an attached laptop computer where it’s processed in about 30 more seconds.
In a study of the first RRS device prototype, researchers compared RRS measurements of carotenoids with measurements taken using the current “gold standard” methods, a serum and skin biopsy tests. Results showed that the RRS results correlated closely with the traditional methods, but the RRS measurement was far less expensive, took less time to process, and was painless.
Researchers hope the RRS device can be used as a tool on the front lines of the growing obesity epidemic, but its current size doesn’t yet make it practical to carry around. However, the researchers continue to refine the prototype and reduce its footprint with better technology. In a more recent study, a smaller version was put to the test in the field and was used, you guessed it – in a classroom of preschool-age kids.
Article from Yale: A revealing hand…