Using bioimpedance to detect skin cancer/melanoma

Reviewer Dr. Jessica Perez Ares Ruz, oncodermatology, cosmetology, Mexico
What is bioimpedance, where is it applied

Bioimpedance analysis (BIA) is a well-known technique for measuring human biological tissues using electric current. It makes it possible to assess a wide range of physiological and morphological parameters of the body without using complex technical devices and without exposing a person to dangerous radiation.

Bioimpedance analysis is carried out by measuring the active and reactive resistance of the whole body or separate parts of the body, in our case, moles on the skin, using different frequencies. Based on the data obtained, the characteristics of the tissue composition, cell mass and fluid volume are measured.

The bioimpedance was originally used to accurately measure the administration of drugs in intensive care units, and today bioimpedance analysis is used in various areas of medical practice:

- endocrinology;
- dietetics;
- oncology;
- physiotherapy;
- surgery.

Obtaining BIA data gives a doctor a large amount of information, and also indicates the need for additional studies and adjustment of treatment tactics.
Reviewer Dr. Alessia Niddeger, oncodermatilogy,
Switzerland
Method safety for humans

To better understand the benefits of bioimpedance and appreciate its therapeutic value, let's look at the history of this study. The first mention of the electrical conductivity of human tissues dates back to 1880 in the works of V. Thomson.

Then, already in the 20th century, the bioimpedance method was actively used in sports medicine. With its help, the volume of the muscle mass, physical endurance of an athlete, was determined. Regular measurements showed the need to correct the load, diet, and other indicators.

Applying technology for the early detection of skin cancer/melanoma, we will once again raise the question of the possible impact of bioimpedance at the cellular level. In 2004, scientists from Germany tracked the mechanism of cell shape change during self-destruction (apoptosis).

The bioimpedance method was used for this study. During the change in the structure of the cell in apoptosis (programmed cell suicide), bioimpedance clearly tracked all the processes inside, while not interfering with the life cycle of the cell.

That is, this work clearly demonstrates that the bioimpedance method helps to diagnose, but at the same time does not impact the integrity of the internal environment of the body. This technology differs from others in the reliability and accuracy of measurements, as well as the absence of harmful radiation.

Today, bioimpedance is one of the methods routinely used in Health Centers around the world. Bioimpedance is prescribed even during pregnancy, it is safe for children. Many people do not notice, but in everyday life we constantly encounter impedance.

Vivid examples are household appliances - smart scales, fitness bracelets; specialized equipment, for example, for diagnosing stroke, assessing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and fluid in tissues, as well as the NOTA mole tracker device. This is a portable device and application for mapping and examining moles at home.
Diagnosis of skin cancer/melanoma with NOTA mole tracker

The technique has been successfully used in oncology for the early detection of skin cancer as it proved its effectiveness and safety in the diagnosis of body composition. Bioimpedance is based on the electrical resistance of tissues. Current can flow around or pass through the cells in the human body.

Our cell membranes are essentially little capacitors that depend on the frequency of the alternating current. Thus, the resistivity of any human tissue can change under the influence of pathological changes. The bioimpedance-based device reads these indicators and shows the result.

If there are lesions in the skin or in a mole compared to the norm, tumors or other pathological processes, the device will help to quantify and identify these changes. NOTA mole tracker, as an example, can evaluate the effectiveness of the diagnostic method.

NOTA is based on the bioimpedance method, which measures the resistance (impedance) of cells under the influence of a weak electrical impulse. The impact lasts 5 seconds, and the impulse penetrates through the skin only for 2 mm.

NOTA uses measurement components that comply with the IEC 60601-1 Medical electrical equipment standard for medical devices. It regulates the parameters of the signal, the maximum allowable voltage, which is safe for humans.

Benefits of NOTA mole tracker

To evaluate all the advantages of the device, it is necessary to analyze how it helps to distinguish a healthy mole from one that can degenerate into cancer. The device measures the bioimpedance (complex resistance) of the skin at several frequencies.
To get the result for one mole, you need to perform 2 measurements:

- one on a healthy area of the skin, as close as possible to the suspicious area;
- the second measurement directly on the suspicious area of the skin.

Algorithms analyze the difference between two measurements and show if the difference is considered insignificant, then the mole is considered safe. If the difference exceeds the calculated thresholds, then the mole is considered dangerous.

How does the device show the results? The app will show that the measured mole is 'Green' if it considers the mole to be safe. And the application will show “Red” if it thinks that the mole is dangerous and you should consult a doctor.

It is worth noting that the device does not replace the work of a doctor, it does not prescribe treatment and does not carry it out, however, it shoes the beginning of the pathological process in a mole (nevus) in time.

Main benefits of the NOTA:

- the device detects the difference between a healthy area of the skin and a suspicious one;
- due to the high sensitivity of NOTA detects even the slightest deviations;
- the device will help to refer a person to a doctor in time based on pathological changes in a mole;
- safe for the skin, the device does not injure tissues;
- completely safe during pregnancy, lactation and for children;
- has no restrictions for people with chronic diseases;
- can be used at any age.

Persons with pacemakers and other electronic embedded device should consult with the attending physician before the use of NOTA
NOTA is suitable for patients at risk. These include:

- people with a lot of moles on the skin;
- people with a genetic predisposition;
- people with white skin who have a low concentration of melanin pigment;
- elder persons;
- patients with chronic skin diseases.
Bioimpedance in children

In addition, it should be said that the impedance technique is being actively developed and used in pediatric practice. Studies show that bioimpedance is a simple, inexpensive, non-invasive way to evaluate a child's body in:

- overweight;
- malnutrition;
- inflammatory processes;
- oncological diseases;
- GIT diseases.

One of the main advantages is the accuracy and speed of measurements, which are so important when a child cannot be immobile for a long time.

In concluding, it should be noted that bioimpedance and the NOTA mole tracker device based on its action are a modern, safe and fast way to diagnose the condition of the skin and moles. The technology is approved by the FDA as safe and does not alter cell life cycles.


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