Eye scan. (shutterstock) shutterstock
Eye scan

The revolutionary Israeli technology scans blood vessels in the eye and will be used on the International Space Station.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

A team of Israeli medical researchers has developed a way to test your blood without poking you with a needle, and NASA approved it for testing on the International Space Station later this year.

Instead of sticking a needle into your body, the team at Sheba Medical Center has a method of scanning the blood vessels in the human eye in order to assess the number and type of cells in a patient and instantly provide accurate results, researchers told Times of Israel.

The method is being expanded and improved so that other blood tests that currently require blood to physically be sent to a lab can instead be performed by scanning.

“Opening up the possibility of needle-less blood tests is truly exciting,” Dr. Harel Baris told the Times. “Our technology is built on the fact that there are blood vessels in the eye that are transparent, meaning that we can analyze them using light waves. We then gather information that usually needs lab analysis of actual samples.”

The new method is so promising that NASA has authorized it to be flown on the ISS. Later this year, Israeli astronaut, Eytan Stibbe, will test it in space with the hope that zero gravity will help the development process.

Stibbe visited Sheba on Monday, where he talked with the research team and had his eyes looked at by Prof. Yigal Rotenstreich, one of the lead researchers behind the new method. The blood test is one of several Israeli developments Stibbe will be working on while in orbit, and he’ll use the Sheba device to monitor his own health.

One huge benefit of the new technology is that in the future, people might be able to use their smartphone to check their blood at home and the results will be sent directly to their doctor.

“It won’t only be more comfortable for patients, but will also open up new possibilities for extending remote care and provide people the ability to integrate medical care with their normal life,” Baris said.

The space testing will check if the device can be used for astronauts, who don’t have the ability of simply popping out to their local clinic or hospital for a blood test.

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