Four small organs—the size of grains of rice—located at the back of the throat glow with a natural fluorescence in the near infrared region of the spectrum. This unique fluorescent signature of the parathyroid glands was discovered by a team of biomedical engineers and endocrine surgeons at Vanderbilt University.
The team built a parathyroid detector, which was assembled from off-the-shelf hardware and is compact enough to fit into a briefcase. It consists of a low-powered infrared laser connected to an optical fiber probe.
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