22 Dec
Monitoring Anemia Via Fingernail Color Monitoring Anemia Via Fingernail Color

Monitoring Anemia Via Fingernail Color

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Biomedical engineers have come up with a non-invasive method to detect anemia in humans.

The app, an alternative to a blood test, analyzes photos of fingertips captured on a smartphone to figure out whether the amount of hemoglobin is low enough to signal an alarm.

Principal investigator Wilbur Lam, MD, PhD, an associate professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine, said, “All other ‘point-of-care’ anemia detection tools require external equipment, and represent trade-offs between invasiveness, cost, and accuracy. This is a standalone app that can look at hemoglobin levels without the need to draw blood.”

Former biomedical engineering graduate student Rob Mannino devised the app as part of his PhD work. Mannino was inspired to delve into the research because of his own experience in dealing with beta-thalassemia, a blood disorder acquired by inheritance and which is the result of a gene mutation.

“Treatment for my disease requires monthly blood transfusions,” said Mannino. “My doctors would test my hemoglobin levels more if they could, but it’s a hassle for me to get to the hospital in between transfusions to receive this blood test. Instead, my doctors currently have to just estimate when I’m going to need a transfusion, based on my hemoglobin level trends.”

Indeed, added Lam, no one except Mannino could likely have accomplished the entire project, as the grad student was able to keep continual tabs on his condition and, in turn, regularly adjust the tech to arrive at as perfect a test as possible.

According to Mannino and Lam, the app could help patients with chronic anemia to manage their care by monitoring their disease and focus on times when therapies or transfusions are needed.

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Read 2582 times Last modified on Thursday, 13 December 2018 03:42
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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