The thyroid gland is located at the base of the neck, just above the clavicles, and just beneath the skin. The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulates metabolic rate that strongly effect body weight, energy level, immune competence and fertility. The symptoms of thyroid disorders usually develop so slowly that most people don’t distinguish them from ageing. Common symptoms include unexplained gain or loss of body weight, intolerance of cold or heat, loss of hair, pain of joints and muscles, heart palpitations, poor memory/concentration and depression. Women are more likely to develop thyroid disorders, especially hypothyroidism and the most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s disease. Family history, radiation exposure and pregnancy seems to initiate Hashimoto’s, a degenerative disease of the thyroid gland caused by the body’s own immune system. Graves’ disease is another manifestation of an immune disorder in which abnormal antibodies stimulate the production of unusually high levels of thyroid hormones.
The dense vascularization and superficial location of the thyroid gland enable an evaluation of its metabolic activity by high-resolution infrared imaging. Thermology can provide a valuable adjunctive modality that complements laboratory assessment of hormone levels and antibody titers, clinical examination and symptoms in the diagnosis of thyroid disorders, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease, goiter as well as thyroid cancer. Thermology findings are well correlated with clinical symptoms and provide an objective indication for laboratory determination of thyroid hormone levels and antibody titers. Thermology also provides a simple and non-invasive means of screening cancer from benign thyroid cysts. The imaging process is completely passive (non-contact and non-radiation) and involves only a few images of the base of the neck. Thermology can also provide a useful monitor of the effectiveness of treatment programs for thyroid disorders.
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