Wednesday, October 31, 2012

DITI in Coronary Heart Disease

By Lynda Witt, Certified Clinical Thermographer | Tucson, AZ

While most of my clients utilize DITI (Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging) for breast imaging, there are actually many uses of this technology.

I was asked recently to present to a group called Mended Hearts in Tucson.  This organization is made up of people who have had cardiac events of some type.  They meet to support those who may be facing heart surgery, a diagnosis of coronary artery disease or some other cardiac condition.

Prior to this presentation, one of the group members asked if DITI could monitor for heart disease or detect cardiac problems before someone suffered a heart attack or worse.

As it turns out, DITI is wonderful at monitoring full body health, including cardiac function.

In the American Journal of Cardiology, 1993, a study was done to determine if DITI could detect and help with management of coronary artery disease (CAD).  Two questions were posed and tested to find the answers.

The first question was simply:  Do people with coronary artery disease (CAD) have asymmetrical patterns across the chest region?

Remember, DITI is used to compare thermal patterns and temperatures on the body and where there are asymmetrical findings is where further investigation should take place.

This idea of asymmetry on the body when disease/dysfunction is present is actually based on something Hypocrites determined many, many years ago.  He put wet mud on his patients and the areas that dried first or that dried faster than the contralateral region was where he found disease.

“In whatever part of the body excess of heat or cold is felt, the disease is there to be discovered.”   ~ Hippocrates, 440 BC

So the question posed in the study, “Is there asymmetry in the precordial (chest) region in patients with CAD?” is deeply grounded in medical history. The first image to the left may answer the question even for the untrained eye.

As you can see, the left chest region on this male client is hypothermic (cool) in comparison to his right chest region.  This type of thermal finding is consistent with cardiac dysfunction and further testing revealed this male client had CAD.

Here is another example of that suspicious finding of hypothermia over the heart region.  This again was determined to be due to CAD after DITI detected this asymmetry.

However, due to the breast tissue of women, testing for cardiac function is not as easily seen and additional images need to be taken for a full thermographic assessment of cardiac function.

See if you can determine where there is thermal asymmetry in the images below.

The anterior view may show you slight thermal asymmetry on the left breast due to a linear pattern of hyperthermia (red line) in the inner quadrant of the left breast.
Realize that this client has had three thermal images (initial, 3 month follow up and annual) and all thermal findings in the breast region are stable. There were no suspicious thermal patterns for breast disease, but look a little again...

...can you find the asymmetry seen between the lateral left and right views?  Look for hypothermic (cool colors) patterns when you compare both views.

If you can see the blue region over the lateral left thoracic region compared to the right lateral thoracic region, you could be a thermologist in training! 

The thermologist’s findings noted that this asymmetrical pattern is suspicious for cardiac dysfunction and further testing was recommended. 

Ladies, realize that your cardiac function is also assessed with each of your thermal breast scans.  You may not realize this unless there is a suspicious finding, but cardiac and pulmonary function are assessed with each breast scan and more than just breast health is being evaluated.

So the study in the American Journal of Cardiology found that the answer to their first question about thermal asymmetry is a resounding YES – thermal asymmetry is seen 94% of the time in those with significant coronary artery disease. 

The second question of the study asks:  “Can revascularization reduce thermal asymmetry?”  The study cited states that “successful revascularization changed the asymmetric precordial pattern to a more symmetric one.”

This study concluded:  “Infrared thermography is a promising technique for the detection of CAD before and after revascularization.”  (Am J Cardiol 1993; 72: 894-896)

Heart disease is one of the top killers in our country and unfortunately, in about 50% of the cases of CAD, the first symptom is a fatal heart attack or sudden cardiac death.  I have several friends whose fathers passed away suddenly due to cardiac arrest and of those fathers, many had been given a clean bill of health by their PCP just prior to their passing.

Since DITI is a preventative screening, if you or your loved one is interested in having a thorough cardiac evaluation, you would want the following images taken:

Carotid Artery Screening (head/neck):  Those who are diagnosed with CAD or are scheduled for surgery (bypass) are told to have a carotid ultrasound because disease or blockages in the heart may also be found in other arteries. This woman had further testing that revealed a right carotid occlusion (blockage).

Along with screening for occlusions, my thermologists look for increased thermal activity in your carotid arteries and IF they find this, they suggest you have a C–Reactive Protein (h/s CRP) test to measure the amount of inflammation in your body.

Elevated CRP AND lots of thermal activity in your carotid arteries shows a STRONG correlation to the early development of CAD.

Chest/Breast Imaging:  Naturally, this region is imaged for women who come in annually for comparative studies. Please know that the woman who shows thermal asymmetry on the lateral left compared to her lateral right side (breast images above) was just in for her annual breast scan. I know that a few of my clients prefer to come in every 2 years and I strongly encourage you to re-examine this decision.

Breast imaging is NOT like mammography which simply looks for a tumor/calcification.  Mammograms have their place, but a positive mammogram offers NO opportunity to intervene early with diet and lifestyle changes as it is not a preventative screening tool.

Also, mammograms do NOT offer cardiac or pulmonary function assessment or lymphatic congestion, hormonal imbalances, neovascularity screening. . .all which contribute to poor health and increase risk for disease development.

Abdominal Imaging:  Often, someone with Congestive Heart Failure also has a congested liver so imaging this region may help guide further testing and/or healing modalities to consider.  Also, imaging this region can help rule in/out GERDs as the symptoms can sometimes be similar.  Kidney function plays a big role in blood pressure regulation, so imaging of kidneys is done with abdominal scans, too. 

Lastly, we would want to do a leg scan looking for peripheral artery disease (PAD) as that too is a concern for those with CAD.

As you can see, using DITI to assess cardiac function is a great idea and having your annual breast scan to detect any suspicious findings is a great start. However, if you want to use DITI to help detect early signs for the possibility of developing CAD, you would want more than just the breast scan.  A full body and breast/chest scan is needed.

As always, we welcome your questions and comments and encourage you to post them here or on our Facebook page! 

Yours in health,

Lynda Witt, CCT
Proactive Health Solutions, LLC
Tucson, AZ

Friday, September 21, 2012

Frankenfoods: We Have the Right to Know!

By Brenda Witt, Certified Clinical Thermographer | Orange County, CA


California Proposition 37, Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods
(on the November 6, 2012 ballot)... If Proposition 37 is approved by voters, it will:

A.  Require labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if the food is made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. 
B.  Prohibit labeling or advertising such food as "natural." 
C.  Exempt from this requirement foods that are "certified organic; unintentionally produced with genetically engineered material; made from animals fed or injected with genetically engineered material but not genetically engineered themselves; processed with or containing only small amounts of genetically engineered ingredients; administered for treatment of medical conditions; sold for immediate consumption such as in a restaurant; or alcoholic beverages." 

A similar attempt to require the labeling of genetically modified foods in 19 other states has FAILED.  There is a lot of information about the Proposition and you can read more about it as well as see the  supporters and opponents of this measure at

Type "Proposition 37 2012" in the search bar.

If you are interested in learning more about the ill-effects of GMO foods, click on this link to view an 85 minute movie entitled: Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives

This video is available for free viewing online between September 15-22!

Also, if you are interested in becoming more involved in Prop37 CA Right to Know campaign, consider joining or visiting the web site:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mammography: What are the (real) risks?

By Brenda Witt, Certified Clinical Thermographer | Orange County, CA

Occasionally, the topics for my newsletters -- and now my PHS blog posts -- come from repeated questions that come from clients during the month. Other times, they are sparked from my personal desire to educate or remind clients of the benefits of thermal imaging in monitoring health.

This month's newsletter and blog are somewhat pre-emptive in that "Pink-tober" is right around the corner and we are about to be inundated with messages about the benefits of early detection and marketing campaigns that promise to donate a portion of the proceeds to support Breast Cancer Research. Pinktober is of course, the month of October and you not only begin to see the pink washing of items in the grocery stores, but you will hear (ad nauseum) about the benefits of mammography.
However, there are risks associated with mammography that you may NOT be aware of.  Unfortunately, thermography (a functional test) cannot replace the use of mammography (a structural test). My goal in sharing this information is to possibly inform you about the risks that you may not know about.  My hope is this will empower you to decide at what interval of time it's best for YOU to use mammography with annual thermography.

Compare & Contrast Thermography vs. Mammography

Breast thermal imaging:

  • Can compare previous thermograms against an established baseline. If there are worrisome findings, you have a chance to make changes to address lymph congestion, hormonal imbalances, fibrocystic changes, and/or new vascular patterns that may relate to breast disease developing in the future.  
  • Looks for physiologic changes that precede disease thus allowing you time for intervention and lifestyle examination.
  • Is not a preventative method for staving off breast cancer and is used to look for calcifications and/or lesion/tumors that have yet to be found by self or clinical exam. 
  • Offers no opportunity for prevention once a tumor is found. On average, a tumor takes 6-8 years to develop into a size large enough to be seen on an X-ray and once discovered, there could be as many as 4 billion cancer cells for your immune system to battle.
In summary, thermography cannot replace mammography and there are no claims to suggest this.

The Radiobiological Risks of Mammography

Sayer Ji, founder and editor of and author of How X-Ray Mammography is Accelerating the Epidemic of Breast Cancer, writes a concise and powerful report about this topic so rarely discussed in our medical arena.  I encourage you to read the full report.  Below are some salient points about his findings.

  • British Journal of Radiobiology 2006 - article revealed that the type of radiation used in X-ray based breast screening is much more carcinogenic than previously believed as compelling evidence demonstrated that the low-energy X-rays used in mammography are about 4 times - but could be as much as 6 times- more effective in causing mutational damage than the higher energy X-rays.
  • The above finding notes that since the current radiation risk of mammograms is based on high-energy gamma radiation it thus implies that the risks of radiation-induced breast cancer for mammography X-rays are also underestimated by the same factor.

While this seems counter-intuitive, the truth is that low-energy (often called "low-dose") X-ray used in mammograms is more dangerous than high-energy X-ray like those used in a chest X-ray.

During my training, I learned that high-energy radiation (ie: chest X-ray) has smaller fast moving photons causing less cellular DNA damage due to size and speed. On the other hand, low-energy (low-dose) radiation (ie: mammography) has larger, slower moving photons which can and do cause double strand breaks within the DNA of susceptible cells; damage that cannot be repaired by the cell.

A recent report discusses the impact of radiation on young women with genetic mutations:  Radiation May Increase Breast Cancer Risk. Young women who have a genetic predisposition to breast cancer may benefit from MRI or other non-radiation type screening.

How Much Radiation?

According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2011), a mammogram uses 4 mSv of radiation versus the 0.02 mSv from the average chest X-ray. Thus, a mammogram delivers 200 times more radiation than a typical chest X-ray. Obviously,the effects of the x-ray are different and perhaps should not be compared.

The current risk model used today to tell women the amount of radiation they are exposed to in a mammogram has two fundamental flaws:

  • It is based on the higher-energy radiation emission (radiation from the atomic bomb or a chest X-ray).

  • This risk model is crude in that it was developed before the discovery of DNA and before a comprehensive understanding of radiotoxicity and genotoxicity.

Unfortunately, Sayer Ji goes on to state, "With the advent of non-ionizing radiation based diagnostic technologies, such as thermography, it has become vitally important that patients educate themselves about the alternatives to X-ray mammography that already exist." 

Anytime I read the words "thermography" and "alternative" in the same sentence, my stomach turns. 

I do not want to mislead you about thermography and what it offers and so, no comparison of the two technologies should be made. They are completely different in their utility and proper role.

Recognize that my reason for sharing this information with you is to alert you to the biological affects of low-energy (low-dose) radiation from mammography and that what you may be told about how much radiation your breasts are exposed to during this procedure may not be the truth.

I encourage you to read Sayer Ji's essay and even print it out for your practitioner who may tell you that the amount of radiation in a mammogram is the same as a flight to Denver or spending a week at a high altitude. You might consider printing Sayer's article for them to read and consider.

Please pass this along to other women regardless of their age. Educate them on how thermography can offer them the chance to assess their current breast health status and that there are numerous ways to improve upon it if needed and monitor it yearly for early warning signs. Be sure to let them know that breast DITI is not a replacement for mammography, but that it empowers you to take charge of your health and play a more active role in maintaining or regaining optimal wellness.

Lastly, although the information in this post is important, please be sure to read about the equally important topic of GMO food labeling in my next post entitled "Frankenfoods: We Have the Right to Know." The impact of GMO foods on our health as well as on the environment will be the major focus of my October newsletter and blog. It is imperative that we alert as many people as we can to the importance of CA Proposition 37 before the November 6th election!

Brenda Witt

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For more in-depth information about using DITI to monitor your breast health or to schedule an appointment at our Tucson, Arizona or multiple California screening locations, please visit our website at

Monday, August 27, 2012

FAQ's About Breast Thermography

By Lynda Witt, Certified Clinical Thermographer | Tucson, AZ


As more women are looking for methods of preventing breast disease, questions arise regarding Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI).


DITI has been around since it was FDA registered in 1982 and it remains a steadfast technology in alerting women to a shift away from stable physiology; a sure sign for the potential that some type of breast disease is developing.


Q: How is DITI used for monitoring breast health and the prevention of breast diseases?


A: DITI offers women the opportunity to address breast health before they are potentially forced to address a breast illness. DITI offers the possibility of monitoring breast health starting around age 28. By this age, breast physiology has matured and cellular changes are stable. Breast cancer begins as a cellular signal that demands growth and nutrition and a lump in the breast is a later (6-8 years on average) manifestation in the process. In active breast cancer, a vascular system develops that can supply this "need" and emits intense heat (hyperthermia). The thermal camera detects these patterns as the additional blood flow brings increased heat to the breast. These thermal patterns and temperature differentials between both breasts all tell a 'story' of what may be happening years prior to the formation of a tumor/lump. Of the thermologist sees evidence of neovascularity, further investigation is needed. This early alert allows for preventative measures to be taken in an attempt to reverse this trend. By having annual comparative studies to ensure no changes have occurred, women can use this technology to monitor breast health. 


Q: How is a thermogram different from a mammogram?


A: Mammograms look for calcifications and/or tumors that are a later manifestation of breast cancer. Some still believe cancer to be a tiny lump that grows as it progresses and having a mammogram to find the lump at its smallest stage is their goal. Unfortunately, breast tissue density limits that ability and not all breast cancers will spread and become lethal. The many signs given off by cancerous cells prior to the "tiny lump" are what DITI is looking for.

Many women are not aware of the numerous steps preceding the growth of an abnormally large enough to be seen on an X-raty or felt during a breast exam. Thermograms are not limited by breast density as we are not penetrating the body with radiation; we are examining blood flow/skin surface temperatures, so the density of breast tissue/implants is not a factor. the benefit is that women can begin this non-invasive screening starting in their lat 20's with no health risks in their attempt to prevent breast disease.


Not all breast cancers are relentlessly progressing and/or continuing to grow and spread. If a woman has the misfortune of a breast cancer diagnosis, the "fortunate" type to have would be one that is not progressing or is non-aggressive. These types of breast cancer may not be seen thermographically because the needed blood supply (heat source) to "feed" the cancerous cells that enable it to spread may not be active, or one's immune system many have encapsulated this growth to wall it off from the rest of the body in an attempt to stop the development of the disease. Using all screening modalities appropriate to age and risk factors is the best use of any medical technology.


Q: Do I need a doctor's referral to have an appointment?

A: No, a referral is not needed for any type of thermal imaging.

Q: Is thermal imaging covered by insurance?

A: Not typically, but each person should check with their carrier. Plus, this procedure is surprisingly affordable for most.


Q: Are thermal cameras used to image other parts of the body?

A: Yes, upper/lower body and full-body imaging are used for a more comprehensive overview of health and wellness, as well as for people experiencing pain or discomfort in the body.  Carpel tunnel, neck pain, myofascial dysfunction, deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and many other pain conditions are detected or confirmed using upper or full-body DITI. Thermal imaging can then be used to monitor healing and show reduction of inflammation often associated with these and many other conditions.

For more in-depth information about using DITI to monitor your breast health or to schedule an appointment at our Tucson, Arizona or multiple California screening locations, please visit our website at