Thursday, September 27, 2007

Can super-bras detect cancer?

Is this a cruel, cruel hoax? Because, yes, I would like to have a magic bra that could help me monitor my health. According to the Hong Kong Productivity Council, this super bra does, in fact, exist. The claim is that a group of British scientists from the University of Bolton have invented "...a new smart bra that can detect breast cancer tumours (sic) at an early stage." Really? If the HKPC is to be believed, "the smart bra uses a microwave antennae device which is built into the bra structure. While wearing it, data about the breast is being collected by the embedded microchips which then produce a computer-generated image of the breast."

Ummm... microwaved breast images?

Does it come in black?

UPDATE: ABC News, at least, is taking this research seriously. According to this article, "...
the device incorporates a series of microwave antennae to detect temperature changes in the breast that point to early stage breast cancer." There is a caveat, however. As breast surgeon Anne Rosenberg explains:
Thermography has been around for 20 years, but has not been sensitive or specific enough to replace traditional imaging, such as mammography... This technique of using the microwave antennae to pick up and record temperature changes in the breast, with an alarm if the threshold is exceeded, would need to be validated in a clinical trial to determine whether it is sensitive or specific with regard to identifying cancers … since not all of these temperature changes will be due to a cancer.
Other experts express concerns that such a bra would increase stress in women when the bra sounded false alarms. At the same time, the device would fuel a false sense of security if the alarm did not sound, "since most cancers are less than one centimeter" in diameter and would be difficult to detect via temperature changes caused by increased blood flow. As this research is quite well funded, perhaps the "smart bra" will get smart enough within our lifetimes to be of some use. Yet, in the meantime, don't wait for a quick fix - we all need to be doing our self-exams, visiting our doctors, and living healthy life styles to reduce our risks.

4 comments:

MarkH said...

Sounds like a big fat lie to me. Such technology simply does not exist.

La Pobre Habladora said...

How about this technology?

Casmall said...

Theremin bra... brilliant.

Mächtige Maus said...

Tell me...has the appropriate research been done on this microwave bra? I'm pretty sure if you strap one of these on a little mouse, then that mouse is actually going to end up with breast cancer.