This image shows a three-dimensional scan of the legs of a person with lymphatic filariasis, more commonly known as elephantiasis. The disease, which results in severe leg swelling, is caused by filarial parasites that are transmitted via mosquito bites and that damage the body’s lymphatic system – the network of vessels responsible for draining tissue fluids. Patients with elephantiasis require regular monitoring of the volume of their legs to assess both the severity of the condition and the effectiveness of any new treatment. However, the existing methods – the use of a tape measure, or a water displacement device into which a patient lowers their legs – can be cumbersome, inaccurate, time-consuming, or all three. The new scanner that produced this image, by contrast, is portable and produces more accurate measurements in a fraction of the time – better not only for the patients, but for clinicians running trials of new treatments.
Written by Ruth Williams
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.