In this medical video learn about a technology breakthrough that is helping doctors diagnose and treat arthritis sooner than ever before.
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Jennifer Matthews: New technology gives Tina Hight a chance to see something a normal X-ray can't. Using thermal imaging, researchers can tell if she has early signs of arthritis in her hands. The thermal scanner detects temperature differences. Inflamed joints are warmer, the first sign of arthritis. Dr. Virginia Byers Kraus: Mostly we rely upon X-rays, which are an indicator of what happens in the bone or around the cartilage. But we know earlier on you have changes in the cartilage and inflammation going on, that are not visible to X-ray. Jennifer Matthews: The thermal scanner is sensitive enough to detect differences of a tenth of a degree in temperature. Dr. Virginia Byers Kraus: The hope is that if you can identify it earlier, then you'd have a much easier chance of treating it, and preventing those late-stage X-ray changes. Jennifer Matthews: Tina already has arthritis in her knees, so she knows the impact the disease can have. She hopes this new scanner technology will help patients get treatment sooner. Tina Hight: Anything to do with research that can help people in the future, I'm all for that. Dr. Virginia Byers Kraus: It's very exciting and I think the prospect for identifying early and then treating early is going to be very valuable as new methodologies for treating this disease come along. Jennifer Matthews: Researchers say thermal scanning for arthritis could become commonplace within five years. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.