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Physiol Meas. 2010 Feb;31(2):193-205. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/31/2/006. Epub 2009 Dec 16.

Full-field optical coherence tomography for the rapid estimation of epidermal thickness: study of patients with diabetes mellitus type 1.

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  • 1Solianis Monitoring AG, Zurich, Switzerland.


Changes in morphology of the skin are an important factor that can affect non-invasive measurements performed through this organ, in particular for glucose monitoring in e.g. patients with diabetes mellitus. A characterization technique for non-contact in vivo profiling of the superficial skin layers can be beneficial for evaluation of the performance of such measurement systems. We applied a full-field optical coherence tomography (OCT) system followed by the fully automatic processing for this task. With the developed procedure, non-invasive quantification of the skin morphology can be performed within a few minutes. The dorsal skin of the upper arm of 22 patients with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus was investigated with an OCT system and with a commercially available dermatological laser scanning confocal microscope (CM) as a reference method. The estimates of epidermal thickness from OCT were compared with the results of expert-assisted analysis of confocal images. The highest correlation with the CM measurements has been obtained for the distance from the entrance peak to the first minimum of the OCT reflection profile (R2 = 0.657, p < 0.0001). In this specific patient group, we have observed a statistically significant correlation of the subjects' body mass index with the distance from the entrance peak to the dermal reflection peak in the OCT profile (p = 0.010). Furthermore, the same OCT parameter is negatively correlated with age with marginal statistical significance (p = 0.062). At the same time, no relation of diabetes-related parameters (duration of disease and concentration of glycated haemoglobin) to the skin morphology observed with the OCT and CM was found.

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