Presentation Title

Using Infrared Thermography as a Non-Invasive Method to Measure Sympathetic Activation

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented Friday March 31, 2017

Abstract

The use of physiological markers to measure acute sympathetic nervous system activation (SNA) is of use in various fields of research including physiology, psychology, and medicine. Current, well-accepted methods of measuring SNA are microneurography and measuring plasma catecholamine levels, but these methods have their limitations. In the field of animal welfare, an emerging method to measure SNA is the use of a non-invasive method known as infrared thermography (IRT). In recent years, researchers in New Zealand have shown that IRT can be used to measure stress and/ or pain responses in cattle by measuring the temperature in the region of the eye known as the lacrimal caruncle. The present study attempts to assess the use of IRT to measure similar responses in humans by inducing SNA. The methods to induce SNA were having participants place their feet in cold water, known as the cold pressor test, and by causing temporary regional ischemia in the lower leg by cutting off circulation, known as the muscle chemoreflex. Since the use of IRT has not been well validated in humans, the study also measured other cardiovascular parameters during the test as well as plasma catecholamine levels, the primary driver of the “fight or flight” response in humans. If this study shows that this method can be used in humans to measure IRT, it could potentially be a non-invasive way to measure SNA in humans.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Mark Rakobowchuk

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Using Infrared Thermography as a Non-Invasive Method to Measure Sympathetic Activation

The use of physiological markers to measure acute sympathetic nervous system activation (SNA) is of use in various fields of research including physiology, psychology, and medicine. Current, well-accepted methods of measuring SNA are microneurography and measuring plasma catecholamine levels, but these methods have their limitations. In the field of animal welfare, an emerging method to measure SNA is the use of a non-invasive method known as infrared thermography (IRT). In recent years, researchers in New Zealand have shown that IRT can be used to measure stress and/ or pain responses in cattle by measuring the temperature in the region of the eye known as the lacrimal caruncle. The present study attempts to assess the use of IRT to measure similar responses in humans by inducing SNA. The methods to induce SNA were having participants place their feet in cold water, known as the cold pressor test, and by causing temporary regional ischemia in the lower leg by cutting off circulation, known as the muscle chemoreflex. Since the use of IRT has not been well validated in humans, the study also measured other cardiovascular parameters during the test as well as plasma catecholamine levels, the primary driver of the “fight or flight” response in humans. If this study shows that this method can be used in humans to measure IRT, it could potentially be a non-invasive way to measure SNA in humans.