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The effect of adipose tissue on transdermal monochromatic light presented to the human fetus using Monte Carlo simulations
  • Zac Isaac,
  • Jacob Heerikhuisen,
  • Vincent Reid
Zac Isaac
The University of Waikato Department of Mathematics

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Jacob Heerikhuisen
The University of Waikato Department of Mathematics
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Vincent Reid
The University of Waikato School of Psychology
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The extent to which external transdermal light sources illuminate the uterine environment is unknown. Recent experimental work indicates that the human fetus responds to external visual stimuli such as laser diodes, and initial modelling work suggests the fetus may not develop in a completely dark environment as previously assumed. Development of the human visual system begins within the womb, and there is motivation in fields such as developmental psychology, transabdominal oximetry, and photoacoustics to explore the extent to which light penetrates maternal abdominal tissue. In this study, we develop and adapt a Monte Carlo model that uses third trimester histological properties of maternal tissue in simulating transdermal monochromatic point light sources. We use the results of this modelling to determine approximate levels of third trimester uterine illumination from such stimuli, discuss the scope for multiple stimuli to be visibly distinct in utero, and suggest improvements for future experimental work.