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Video Imaging for Microscopes: How it Helps Medical Professionals Manage Patient Care

written by: Cyndi Root•edited by: Diana Cooper•updated: 4/28/2011

Images can be shared across the world as two doctors can view the same sample in real time with video conferencing. Pictures and video can be captured and shared an infinite number of times, with multiple people and organizations, to collaborate in diagnosing and managing patients.

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    A new interpretation aid for medical science is video imaging for microscopes. Images can now be retained and interpreted with a view to improving patient diagnosis and treatment. The microscope, invented over 400 years ago by Zacharias Janssen - Dutch eyeglasses-maker (1580-1638), was quickly adopted by physicians and scientists for non-invasive medical diagnostics. Video microscopy advances the medical profession with valuable knowledge, experience and collaboration.

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    Hardware and Software

    A bench/fixed microscope or hand-held portable microscope can examine specimens like tissue samples, blood and objects with 2-7000x zoom magnification and a pixel resolution up to 2560 x 1920 pixels. Some models incorporate a swiveling camera head for angled viewing.

    The microscope or high-resolution digital camera with magnifying properties connects via USB cord to a computer equipped with video acquisition software. Some microscopes come with a built-in hard drive and optical and flash drives. Other models have a memory stick port for recording without a computer.

    Video microscopy enables medical professionals to increase capabilities even more through image processing. Samples can be sectioned, resolution improved, depth discrimination manipulated, light can be scattered and diffused, and the background eliminated. Taking a digital picture or video also safeguards the quality and longevity of the image.

    Automated image analysis makes it easier to extract and analyze data without the factor of human error. For example, cells can be examined with statistical models that differentiate cancer cells from normal cells. Either a human can look at the cells first, and use automated analysis afterwards or use the automated model first, and a human interpretation afterwards.

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    The human body is a story of cell growth and decay. Live cells can be cultivated/grown and filmed with new technologies. Reagents such as hormones or drug compounds can be injected into cell sites, the results videotaped and interpreted later. Scientists have used the microscope with image capabilities to watch the progression of teeth erupting in the jaw. Some other uses:
    • electric fields - measuring and creating 3D mapping of the cell's intrinsic electric field or measuring the effect of electricity on the cell
    • fluid propulsion - microfluids propel and signal other cells
    • growth - division and development of cells
    • decomposition - decay, decline and death of cells
    • morphology - shape, appearance, size and structure of cells
    • kinetics - movement, growth or rate of progress
    • evaporation - related to fluid propulsion, the disappearance of microfluids
    • sample changes or transitions
    • matching transitions with other changes
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    Free to Collaborate

    A physician, lab technician or other medical professional using video imaging for microscopes can position a sample under the microscope lens and stand back to view the results naturally, with direct visualization in real time. Still photos and live action video can be captured for later analysis, or shared over a network with others. Collaboration or knowledge sharing benefits medical science and thus the patient.