Thermal Pain Probe
The loss of nerve fiber density or function, neuropathy, can result from disease or injury such as diabetes or burns. Assessment of the response of small nerve fibers found in the skin can indicate the degree of damage and the effects of treatment.
JHU/APL has developed a handheld device to deliver a very specific heat stimulus to these small nerves. Through precise control of the temperature, area and size of application and duration of the stimulus, a thermal pain threshold can be determined. Doctors can use this threshold to assess small fiber density and response for clinical and research use. APL's Thermal Pain Probe is an improvement over other thermal probes because its interchangeable tips of various sizes effectively maintain heat temperature allowing for high precision and, therefore, the accurate assessment of the density and depth of neural fiber penetration below the skin tissue. In addition, APL's device is portable and does not require water circulation nor a water reservoir to maintain temperature. US Patent Application Publication No. 2004/0243021
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