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A new imaging technology called photo-acoustic tomography is being developed by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, Reuters reports in a video. Using lasers and sound, the researchers are able to create much higher-quality images of body parts than they currently can. "It's actually a way of using sound to detect optical features," researcher Lihong Wong tells Reuters. "Instead of looking at optical structures, we're listening to optical structures. Light is beamed at the body and absorbed by the tissues. It then scatters, and causes a rapid increase in temperature, which then produces sound waves, Reuters reports. Researchers then detect these sound waves, and create an optical image of the tissues and organs. Wong adds that this technology will give doctors a detailed look at what's happening in the body in real time. The hope, Reuters adds, is that they can use this method to detect early signs of cancer before it develops into a tumor, especially in tissues and organs that aren't easily imaged by conventional means.

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