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Proceedings Paper

Infrared imaging to quantify the effects of nicotine-induced vasoconstriction in humans
Author(s): Siegfried Brunner; Christian Kargel
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Paper Abstract

Smoking is the most significant source of preventable morbidity and premature mortality worldwide (WHO-2008). One of the many effects of nicotine is vasoconstriction which is triggered by the autonomic nervous system. The constriction of blood vessels e.g. of the skin's vascular bed is responsible for a decrease of the supply with oxygen and nutrients and a lowering of the skin temperature. We used infrared imaging to quantify temperature decreases caused by cigarette smoking in the extremities of smokers and also monitored heart rate as well as blood pressure. The results - including thermograms showing "temporary amputations" of the fingertips due to a significant temperature drop - can help increase the awareness of the dangers of smoking and the success of withdrawal programs. Surprisingly, in our control persons (3 brave non-smoking volunteers who smoked a cigarette) we also found temperature increases suggesting that vasodilation (widening of blood vessels) was provoked by cigarettes. To verify this unexpected finding and eliminate effects from the 4000 chemical compounds in the smoke, we repeated the experiment following a stringent protocol ruling out physiological and psychological influences with 9 habitual smokers and 17 nonsmokers who all chew gums with 2 mg of nicotine. Task-optimized digital image processing techniques (target detection, image-registration and -segmentation) were applied to the acquired infrared image sequences to automatically yield temperature plots of the fingers and palm. In this paper we present the results of our study in detail and show that smokers and non-smokers respond differently to the administration of nicotine.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 April 2009
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7299, Thermosense XXXI, 729905 (22 April 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.818106
Show Author Affiliations
Siegfried Brunner, Bundeswehr Univ. of Munich (Germany)
Christian Kargel, Bundeswehr Univ. of Munich (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7299:
Thermosense XXXI
Douglas D. Burleigh; Ralph B. Dinwiddie, Editor(s)

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