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New app turns your smartphone into an Anemia detector

by Vanessa Waithera
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Anemia is one of the most common blood disorders in the world. As a matter of fact the World Health organization stated that it affects 25% of the world’s population. With this realization, a team of researchers from the University of Washington has developed an app that turns smartphones into anemia detectors. Many times anemia can go unnoticed in many parts of the world. Anemia is characterized by having low levels of hemoglobin or red blood cells.

It is usually analyzed by analyzing the color of someone’s blood. The new app known as HemaApp will be able to estimate hemoglobin concentrations.

The researchers found the app was mostly accurate when they used a low cost LED lighting attachment on top of the flash. The flash would allow the doctor to see more of what was under the patients skin. In comparison to the Masimo Pronto that is an expensive FDA machine that is clipped to a patient’s finger, both the LED and FDA were fairly accurate. The app will be particularly good for developing nations because it is much cheaper and more accessible for medical practitioners.

So far the researchers plan on creating better apps that can detect other blood disorders such as sickle cell disease. Although the app can detect low hemoglobin levels, patients will still have to take a proper blood test. If the app is properly used, especially in developing countries it will save doctors and nurses the time they would use for unnecessary blood tests. If a patient happens to have normal hemoglobin levels it would rule out the test and save the patient some money as well. Some other researchers in the same university also plan on creating an app that can detect jaundice in the near future.

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