An innovative mobile app allows people to test for anemia without even killing blood, reveals a new study. Developed by…
An innovative mobile app allows people to test for anemia without even killing blood, reveals a new study.
Developed by an Emory University engineer with a blood disease, the new app scans images taken by the nails for signs of the amount of hemoglobin – which helps prevent bleeding in the blood.
There are a number of environmental and genetic causes of anemia, and for some of the most serious forms, regular blood tests are required to determine how often blood transfusions are necessary.
But the new app has shown a promise to cut out the inconvenience, cost and pesky needle nail to test for anemia.
A newly developed mobile app can tell if you are anemic with photos on your nails. A new Emory University study reveals TH
Anemia is extremely common and affects about three million Americans each year.
It occurs when someone has a lack of iron in the blood, an important ingredient in the production of red blood cells that allow coagulation, which prevents us from losing too much blood.
These blood cells also function as an oxygen transcription system to reach all the tissues of the body.
For the most part, anemia is caused by an iron deficiency which may be a consequence of heavy menstrual periods or life stages when there is a high demand for blood supply, such as growth powder or pregnancy.
These temporary attacks of anemia are usually quite easy to detect, diagnose and treat.
Most will become pale, weak, tired, breathless or woozy and sometimes their tongues will change, become swollen and smooth.
Often the problem can be solved with iron supplements, but if iron deficiency persists, some surgery or blood transfusions may occur.
But for some, the condition is chronic and can be life threatening.
This was the case for Rob Mannino, a biomedical doctoral student at Emory, Atlanta.
He has suffered from a genetic disorder called beta thalassemia for his entire life.
The hereditary disease interferes with the production of hemoglobin, the red blood cell oxygen transport protein.
The disease becomes apparent around age two, so because of being a small child, Mannino’s life has to be planned around regular blood tests and transfusions.
& # 39; Treatment of my disease requires monthly blood transfusions, says Mannino.
These transfusions are rich in hemoglobin, but it can actually put an excess of iron into the bloodstream and it can build up and damage the liver and heart and create hormone balances.
The app can also distinguish between “milk spots” (3) and a camera flash reflection (4)
Thus, hemoglobin should be monitored regularly so that Mannino would only get transfusions when absolutely necessary, decreasing or at least delaying this injury.
“My doctors would test my hemoglobin levels more if they could, but it’s a hassle for me to get to the hospital between transfusions to get this blood sample,” says Mannino.
“Instead, my doctor needs to adjust just when I’m going to need a transfusion based on my hemoglobin level developments. “
Mannino wanted to get rid of guesswork in his medical treatment – and got his chance when he joined Emory’s blood syndrome specialist (and biomedical engineer), Dr. Wilbur Lam.
Mannino did turned into a real labour, and carefully photographed his nail beds when his hemoglobin levels fluctuated.
The color under the nails gives a unique visual measurement of red blood cells because there is no melanin – the compound that gives the skin its pigment – so the color of it The tissue varies with blood composition rather than skin tone or tan.
Mannino’s fingernail selfies “made it possible f prompt him to constantly refine and adapt his technique to himself in a very efficient manner. So essentially, he was his own perfect first test subject with every iteration of the app, says Dr. Lam.
The researchers tested the app on four subjects and carefully condemned hemoglobin deficiency in people with many skin tones because there is no melanin under nails
Dr Lam, Mannino and their research team claimed the app’s accuracy by expanding the links Mannino which was done between the colors of nails and hemoglobin levels by taking photos and blood samples of an additional 337 persons.
When tested on four people, the resulting photo-based algorithm was as accurate as blood sample on the bed taken in hospitals.
And Lam says, “This is just a snapshot of accuracy right now. The algorithm gets smarter with every patient enrolled.”
The app will not be accurate enough to diagnose anemia, but when someone knows that they are or are prone to the condition, scientists are convinced that it will help people track their status and know when they need treatment.
“All other” point-of-care “anemia detection tools require external equipment and represent balances between invasiveness, cost and accuracy, says Dr. Lam.
& # 39; This is a standalone app whose precision is in line with the current available precautionary tests without having to take blood, & # 39; he sums up.
The app may be especially useful for women who are pregnant or menstruated and particularly prone to anemia, say the researchers.