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Journal of Biomedical Optics

Dynamic analysis of internal and external mental sweating by optical coherence tomography
Author(s): Masato Ohmi; Motomu Tanigawa; Akihiro Yamada; Yoshihiro Ueda; Masamitsu Haruna
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Paper Abstract

Mental sweating is human sweating that is accelerated via the sympathetic nerve by application of mental or physical stress. In the neurosciences, there is keen interest in this type of sweating, because the amount of sweat in response to a stress applied to a volunteer directly reflects activity of the sympathetic nerve. It is therefore of particular value that optical coherence tomography (OCT) can provide clear in vivo imaging of the spiral lumen of an eccrin sweat gland in the epidermis with a spatial resolution around 10 μm. We demonstrate dynamic OCT of mental sweating of an eccrin sweat gland on a human fingertip, where the sweating dynamics can be tracked by time-sequential OCT images with a frame spacing of one second. An instantaneous amount of sweat stored in the spiral lumen is evaluated quantitatively in each OCT image, resulting in time variation measurements of excess sweat in response to mental or physical stress. In the dynamic OCT of mental sweating, as demonstrated here, we note for the first time internal sweating without ejection of excess sweat from the spiral lumen to the skin surface. Internal sweating has not been previously detected without the availability of our dynamic OCT technique. Until now, it has been commonly accepted that sweating is always accompanied with ejection of excess sweat to the skin surface. On the basis of our findings reported here, this type of sweating should now be referred to as external sweating. In this study, we demonstrate that internal sweating occurs more often in the case where mental stress is applied to a volunteer, and that it is more useful for evaluation of activity of the sympathetic nerve. The dynamic OCT for both external and internal sweating is demonstrated.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 January 2009
PDF: 7 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 14(1) 014026 doi: 10.1117/1.3079808
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 14, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Masato Ohmi, Osaka Univ. (Japan)
Motomu Tanigawa, Osaka Univ. (Japan)
Akihiro Yamada, Osaka Univ. (Japan)
Yoshihiro Ueda, Osaka Univ. (Japan)
Masamitsu Haruna, Osaka Univ. (Japan)


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