Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pocket diagnosis: App turns any smartphone into a portable medical diagnostic device

Date:
March 19, 2014
Source:
University of Cambridge
Summary:
A new app that turns any smartphone into a portable medical diagnostic device could help in the fight against diseases including HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in the developing world. "This app can substitute for laboratory equipment, saving money to clinics and research institutions," said the developer of the app.

By quickly getting medical data from the field to doctors or centralized laboratories, it may help slow or limit the spread of pandemics, the authors note.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Cambridge

A recently-developed mobile phone application could make monitoring conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, and urinary tract infections much clearer and easier for both patients and doctors, and could eventually be used to slow or limit the spread of pandemics in the developing world.

The app, developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, accurately measures color-based, or colorimetric, tests for use in home, clinical or remote settings, and enables the transmission of medical data from patients directly to health professionals.

Decentralization of healthcare through low-cost and highly portable point-of-care diagnostics has the potential to revolutionize current limitations in patient screening. However, diagnosis can be hindered by inadequate infrastructure and shortages in skilled healthcare workers, particularly in the developing world. Overcoming such challenges by developing accessible diagnostics could reduce the burden of disease on health care workers.

Due to their portability, compact size and ease of use, colorimetric tests are widely used for medical monitoring, drug testing and environmental analysis in a range of different settings throughout the world. The tests, typically in the form of small strips, work by producing color change in a solution: the intensity of the color which is produced determines the concentration of that solution.

Especially when used in a home or remote setting however, these tests can be difficult to read accurately. False readings are very common, which can result in erroneous diagnosis or treatment. Specialized laboratory equipment such as spectrophotometers or test-specific readers can be used to automate the readouts with high sensitivity, however these are costly and bulky.

The new app, Colorimetrix, makes accurate reading of colorimetric tests much easier, using nothing more than a mobile phone. The app uses the phone's camera and an algorithm to convert data from colorimetric tests into a numerical concentration value on the phone's screen within a few seconds.

After testing urine, saliva or other bodily fluid with a colorimetric test, the user simply takes a picture of the test with their phone's camera. The app analyses the colors of the test, compares them with a pre-recorded calibration, and displays a numerical result on the phone's screen. The result can then be stored, sent to a healthcare professional, or directly analyzed by the phone for diagnosis.

The app can be used in home, clinical, or resource-limited settings, and is available for both Android and iOS operating systems. It has been shown to accurately report glucose, protein and pH concentrations from commercially-available urine test strips without requiring any external hardware, the first time that a mobile phone app has been used in this way in a laboratory setting. Details were recently published in the journal Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical.

Beyond laboratory applications, the app could also be used by patients to monitor chronic conditions such as diabetes, or as a public health tool, by enabling the transmission of medical data to health professionals in real time.

"This app has the potential to help in the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in the developing world, bringing the concept of mobile healthcare to reality," said Ali Yetisen, a PhD student in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology, who led the research. "By quickly getting medical data from the field to doctors or centralized laboratories, it may help slow or limit the spread of pandemics."

In addition to medical applications, the researchers are planning to publicly release the app so that it can be used for other colorimetric tests such as laboratory kits, veterinary diagnostics and environmental screening tools.

"This app can substitute for laboratory equipment, saving money to clinics and research institutions," said Dr Leo Martinez, who developed the app.

The team is planning to use the app for clinical testing of kidney function and infections in clinical testing at Addenbrooke's Hospital.

The app is the result of a collaboration between researchers from the Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology, and the Department of Engineering.

The app is currently available for research purposes via the website: www.colorimetrix.com.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cambridge. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ali K. Yetisen, J.L. Martinez-Hurtado, Angel Garcia-Melendrez, Fernando da Cruz Vasconcellos, Christopher R. Lowe. A smartphone algorithm with inter-phone repeatability for the analysis of colorimetric tests. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 2014; 196: 156 DOI: 10.1016/j.snb.2014.01.077

Cite This Page:

University of Cambridge. "Pocket diagnosis: App turns any smartphone into a portable medical diagnostic device." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140319103612.htm>.
University of Cambridge. (2014, March 19). Pocket diagnosis: App turns any smartphone into a portable medical diagnostic device. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140319103612.htm
University of Cambridge. "Pocket diagnosis: App turns any smartphone into a portable medical diagnostic device." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140319103612.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins