The inherent inefficiencies of metabolism are the source of body heat. This heat must be transferred to the environment or its accumulation will increase body temperature, cause the destructive denaturizing of body proteins and ultimately death (1). At comfortable room temperatures, the principle means of body heat loss to the environment is emission of infrared energy from the skin. Human skin, irrespective of its pigmentation, is an almost perfectly efficient emitter of infrared energy; meaning that the intensity of infrared energy occurs in direct proportion to skin temperature (2). The emission of infrared energy from the skin is quite superficial and skin temperature is principally affected by small-caliber vascular perfusion (3). Skin perfusion is, in turn, modulated by the autonomic nervous system as a means of maintaining the close regulation of core body temperature (4). It is the regulation of core body heat that, largely, affects skin temperature. Thermal energy from deeper tissues will be directed to the skin surface and present an infrared "character" that is distinctive for each anatomic site (5). 

The new blood vessel development (neo-angiogenesis) of a solid cancerous tumor must occur when it has grown too large for simple diffusion from existing blood vessels to provide for the metabolic needs of the cells at the center of the tumor. The process of neo-angiogenesis begins before a cancerous tumor is about 150 micrometers (0.15mm) in diameter and must be extensively developed by the time a tumor is 1-2 mm in diameter (6). The neo-angiogenic blood vessels distinctive of cancer are unstable and do not have the ordered structure of normal blood vessels. In fact, neo-angiogenic vessels are of a primitive sinusoid structure without any connection to the autonomic nervous system and without effective vascular smooth muscle (7).

Nitric oxide is a readily diffusible gas produced in very high concentrations as a consequence of an inducible enzyme produced as part of an abnormal metabolic pathway inherent to metaplastic and malignant tissue with the effect of potent regional vasodilatation (8, 9). Thermology is able to characterize breast cancer by indicating the unregulated hyperemia of these defective blood vessels and resulting convection of body core thermal energy to the relatively superficial region of the disease. This means the defective blood vessels of breast cancer can be indicated during an intentional challenge procedure to the autonomic nervous system by their inability to constrict, as contrasted from normal blood vessels that will constrict and cool the overlying skin (10). In fact, our experience demonstrates that breast cancer-related blood vessels may actually increase their flow and skin temperature subsequent to the autonomic challenge procedure, probably from shunting.

High-sensitivity digital radiometric focal plane infrared cameras are coupled with powerful computers and sophisticated software to enable a quantum step as a diagnostic technique in functional medicine. Thermology interpretative standards necessarily involve a quantitative analysis of the data. Thermology has established diagnostic effectiveness in rheumatology, neurology, physiotherapy, sports medicine, orthopedics, pediatrics as well as oncology. Furthermore, the high sensitivity of thermology often makes an invaluable monitor of the effectiveness of some patient treatment programs.



1. Guyton, A.C. and Hall J.E. (2000) TEXTBOOK OF MEDICAL PHYSIOLOGY, W. B. Saunders & Co., London, New York.

2. Boulant J.A. (1991) Thermoregulation in FEVER BASIC MECHANISMS AND MANAGEMENT, Mackowiak P. (Ed). Raven Press, New York, pp 1-21.

3. Bruck K. Hinkel R. (1990) Thermoefferent networks and their adaptive modifications, Ch. 6 in THERMOREGULATION - HYSIOLOGY AND BIOCHEMISTRY, Schonbaum E. and Lomax P. (Eds), Pergamon Press, London.

4. Collins K.J. (1992), The autonomic nervous systems and the regulation of body temperature, CH. 12 in AUTONOMIC FAILURE 3rd Ed., Bannister R. and Mathias C.J. (Eds), Oxford Univ Press.

5. Popovichenko N.V. and Sidorenko L.V. Characteristics of the Temperature Distribution on the Surface of the Body in Healthy Subjects. (Rus) Fiziol Zh 1987;33(2):15-18.

6. Folkman, J. Tumor angiogenesis: therapeutic implications. N Engl J Med. 1971;285(21):1182-1186.

7. Konerding MA & Steinberg F. Computerized infrared thermographic and ultrastructure studies of xenotransplanted human tumors on nude mice. Thermology 1988;3:7-14.

8. Loibl, S. Buck A, String C. et al. The role of early expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase in human breast cancer. European Journal of Cancer (1990)Y 2005.41;2:265-271.

9. Thornsen LL, Miles DW, Happerfield L, Bobrow LG, Knowles RG, Moncada S. Nitric oxide synthese activity in human breast cancer. Br J Cancer. 1995 July;72(1):41-44.

10. Hoekstra P, The autonomic challenge and analytic breast thermology. Thermology International, 2004(14);3:106.