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    Health scan

    Noninvasive scanner technology offers holistic approach to age management

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    Healthy people take antioxidant vitamins to fight scavenging free radicals but are usually unable to tell whether the vitamins are doing their job. A new, noninvasive technology is changing that and giving vitamin takers a color-coded view of whether the supplements are making an impact.

    By simply holding their palms in front of a low-energy blue light laser or LED light, vitamin takers obtain their skin carotenoid scores. This number and where it falls on a colorful spectrum provides immediate evidence of carotenoid antioxidant activity in the body. And physicians, including those who perform cosmetic procedures, are offering the technology to patients as part of a holistic approach to age management.

    HOLISTIC EVALUATION Heidi Regenass, M.D., a plastic surgeon practicing in Glendale and Phoenix, Ariz., and a consultant and medical advisory board member for Nu Skin Enterprises, makers of the Pharmanex BioPhotonic Scanner, says that the scanner's readings help guide her when making recommendations to patients about taking supplements to improve skin quality and health.

    "I do a holistic evaluation of the patient," Dr. Regenass tells Cosmetic Surgery Times . "My philosophy is that what you don't see on the inside is just as important as what you see on the outside."

    Dr. Regenass says that when her surgical and nonsurgical patients express an interest in what they can do to improve their health, she will scan them. "The scanner is not something that I use every day; rather, it's an adjunct to what I do," she explains. "The nice thing is that it's noninvasive and will not hurt your patients," she adds. The scan takes about one to two minutes. After going over the results with patients, Dr. Regenass might recommend diet and nutrition changes.

    "The BioPhotonic scanner is a simple noninvasive tool that I can use to see whether my patients have optimal levels of antioxidants in their body. That helps me to determine how they may respond to surgery. Ultimately, I want them to follow a healthy, nutritious diet [possibly with supplements] before and after surgery, so that their post-surgical healing potential is maximized," Dr. Regenass says.

    David H. McDaniel, M.D., a dermatologist and assistant professor of clinical dermatology and plastic surgery, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Virginia Beach, offers the scanning free to his anti-aging and skin rejuvenation patients. He says the scanner helps to educate people that what goes on inside their bodies is not always evident on the outside. Of the many people whom he has scanned, he reports, only a small percentage had scanning results in the optimal range. "Most of these people are very busy with active lifestyles," he says. "They might look fit, but they just don't eat right."

    TECH BASE The BioPhotonic Scanner is based on Resonance Raman Spectroscopy, which uses light to measure quantitative changes in substances that emit a Raman spectroscopic signal. "Our scanner uses light at the blue light wavelength. We shine a ray of this blue light onto the palm of your hand and depending on the amount of antioxidants that you have in the skin tissue, you are able to shift the blue light to another wavelength, which is green light," explains Joseph Chang, Ph.D., chief scientific officer and executive vice president of Nu Skin Enterprises based in Provo, Utah.

    In 2000, Hata et al. reported in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology that the Raman technology "indeed reflects the presence of carotenoids in human skin and is highly reproducible." They also found evidence in that study that carotenoid concentration in the skin correlates with the presence or absence of skin cancer and precancerous lesions.

    COSMETIC CORRELATION Dr. Chang says that it is well established in published literature that free radicals are toxic and destructive to skin collagen and elastin.

    "Daily sun exposure produces free radicals on your skin, destroying collagen and elastin," he says. "We know that taking supplements, orally, will impact skin health, which is highly vascularized."

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    Lisette Hilton
    Lisette Hilton is a writer in Boca Raton, Fla., who heads up her company, Words Come Alive.

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