Thermal Image of Raynaud’s Is an Award Winner

Thermal ImageA thermal image graphically showing the difference between a healthy hand and that of a Raynaud’s sufferer after exposure to cold water is one of this year’s winners of the Wellcome Image Awards.

The awards are given by the Wellcome Trust in the UK, considered one of the world’s leading resources for medical imagery, “to recognize the creators of the most informative, striking and technically excellent images that communicate significant aspects of biomedical science.”  The Raynaud’s thermal image was considered one of the best science images of this past year!

As you can guess, the thermal image displays the colder areas as blue, black and purple.  The healthy hand is displayed in warm tones of yellow and orange.

Catherine Draycott, head of Wellcome Images and chair of the judging panel, explained their rationale for the selection: “This image is striking because it shows so vividly the difference between normal circulation and the poor circulation of someone with Raynaud’s disease – triggered by cold temperature, stress and anxiety.”

Thermal imaging uses a special camera to detect infrared radiation or heat.  The amount of radiation produced by an object increases with temperature, so the technique creates visual variations in temperature.

The winning image was created by Matthew Clavey of Thermal Vision Research.  Here’s a link to the winner’s gallery.

Here’s more on how thermal imaging has been used to display clinical trial results applying Botox injections to the feet:  Botox Applied to the Toes Restores Heat to Feet


  1. I think it’s funny that you win an award for exposing a hand to cold… For years my family has witnessed this by visiting any local museum with thermal imaging cameras. I just simply walk in front of it and my hands and nose are purple while the rest of the family is warm yellows oranges and reds.

  2. Yes, we’ve seen these images before, too – even some published in National Geographic Magazine. What’s newsworthy to us is that it would gain award-winning attention for Raynaud’s!

  3. Wish they would follow up on things NOT on their list. No stress, NO cold, NO anxiety. Barometer change is mine. Check my hands, check the barometer. All on task. Very seldom does the stress, cold and anxiety come into my wheel house. 99% of my reaction of Raynauds is inside a very comfortable house, non stressed.

  4. my granddaughter has Raynaud’s and i took a thermal picture, the foot that was cold was not the one that looked bad. The cool foot loked normal. not what i thought would happen. What is going on?

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