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Recently in Research: Jack McDaniel & Franklin Roberts


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People who experience “cold hands” often do not have enough blood flowing to their hands and fingertips. Jack McDaniel and Franklin Roberts, both seniors studying Biomedical Sciences, conducted a case study to investigate acral hand tissue response to varying environmental temperatures from 10-32°C (50-90°F).

McDaniel and Roberts studied college aged individuals – 4 with “cold hands” and 4 normal response individuals. The individuals were scheduled for five randomly assigned environmental sessions at 10°C, 16°C, 21°C, 26°C, and 32°C (50°F, 60°F, 70°F, 80°F, 90°F) with the relative humidity held constant at 35%. The sessions were separated by 24 hours and performed during the same time of day.  The environmental exposure consisted of standing in the environmental chamber during which infrared images of the anterior and posterior hands were taken after an equilibration period (before) and 20 minutes (after).

The duo did not discover the mechanism behind the response of the individuals with “cold hands.” However, based on their case study observations, “cold hand” individuals maintain vasoconstriction below 21°C, while normal participants released vasoconstriction above 16°C. These observations suggest that thermographic evaluations of cold hand individuals may show discrepant results for both ambient, exercise, and cold water environmental testing procedures.

McDaniel and Roberts hope their research will spark interest for others, so that in the future other researchers may find the mechanism behind “cold hands.”

“The most rewarding thing for us was seeing something we had been working on for months finally come to completion and be accepted for multiple presentations,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel and Roberts will present their research in London at the 14th European Association of Thermology Congress in July. The conference is called “Thermology in Medicine: Clinical Thermometry and Thermal Imaging.”

Dr. David Pascoe served as the mentor during this Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

Last modified: April 2, 2018