Scientists have uncovered a correlation between blood flow and body position for the first time, using instruments capable of detecting magnetic fields in the human body.
The international research group led by ITMO University found that alterations in capillary blood flow around the face can be caused by a change in body position.
By using a process called 'imaging photoplethysmography' the ITMO University researchers, alongside colleagues from the Almazov National Medical Research Centre, examined blood vessels located in the carotid system in order to investigate the cerebral blood flow response to various stimuli in health and disease.
The technique of imaging photoplethysmography is an optical method enabling the researchers to detect both the velocity of the pulse-wave moving from the heart to tissues, and amplitude of blood pulsations in different areas of the body.
They managed to find out that pulse-wave velocity (PWV) in the carotid area changes in response to body position change. equally interesting, perhaps, is that not only does hydrostatic pressure difference affects the velocity of blood flow, but also the response of the body to its position change.
Therefore, this method will make it easier for scientists to investigate the physiological regulation of the peripheral blood flow in response to external stimuli, for example, gravity.
"It all started when we examined migraine patients. When observing one of our volunteers, we suddenly noticed that the way he moved affected the results of the observations," said professor Alexei Kamshilin from ITMO's International Scientific-Technical Center for Computational Optics, Photonics and Imaging.
"We decided to check if other people had the same effect, and the answer was yes.
"However, different people demonstrated different responses to body position change, which means that this new method of pulse wave velocity detection provides valuable information on the regulation of the peripheral blood flow."
According to the scientists, the significance of the research is that it will help to understand the interaction between light and the circulatory system, and how scientists can benefit from this interaction.
It's also said the study could become the blueprint for further investigations of body responses to various regulatory factors. The method could also come in handy when studying the blood supply to various parts of the body, including the cerebral cortex.
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