|Photo by silly_a1804|
Ah, remember those days as a child when you got to run around the yard blowing soap bubbles? Did you giggle while trying to catch them and watch as they floated away? Although there’s less running around, some kids never stopped playing with bubbles. Instead, they grew-up to become researchers who have the fun task of doing something useful with these balls of air. They’ve named them microbubbles. These are literally tiny gas-filled bubbles, which are many times smaller than the width of a hair.
So what can something so minuscule do? It can help us see the insides of our bodies better. It’s true. Letting these little bubbles float through the bloodstream gives doctors a better image of your organs when they do an ultrasound – think high-definition TV versus analog. This is because a bubble’s shell bounces back the sound waves from an ultrasound differently than our organs do. By looking at the images, medical professionals can check whether or not your heart is pumping blood properly. On top of this, advanced microbubbles are being tested to determine how good they are at locating tumours in patients.
So, as you now know, sometimes it’s good for grown-ups to play with bubbles.
To see what a microbubble looks like, click here (scroll down on the page).