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A lot of people with chronic pain know that the area affected feels slightly cooler to the touch. Some researchers believe that this can be caused by muscle contractions that restrict blood flow to the area.

The Kathryn Walter Stein Chronic Pain Laboratory researcher, Mathew H.M. Lee, M.D., uses computerized thermography to find the ‘cool’ areas that are representative of restricted blood flow. The equipment can detect temperature differences within a hundredth of a degree. Researchers have established that just a 2 degrees Celsius difference can indicate a medical problem. Using this approach he is able to ‘map’ the regions that are affected.

Dr. Lee’s images are so interesting that the Whitney Museum of American Art has added some of them to their permanent collection.

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