Think about going to the hospital and waiting in the long queues for doing a test or checkup of your body. Though it may not be so problematic but some may feel lazy to do it. One of the tests is Anemia in which you have to go to the hospital, give the various blood tests and wait for hours to get the result. However, who wants to do a hassle free Anemia test can simply download an app.

A new smartphone app can tell if you have Anemia by just analyzing the color of the fingernail in a photo. Anemia is a common blood disorder. Occurs due to reduced levels of the blood’s oxygen carrier, Haemoglobin, causes severe fatigue, heart problems, and complications in pregnancy. It already affected 2 billion people. It affects about 29 percent of the pregnant and 38 percent of the non-pregnant women and 43 percent of the children globally.

Diagnosing anemia requires blood samples and specialized testing equipment that’s largely inaccessible to low-income societies. So the disorder is highly prevalent in those areas. A team of researchers from Georgia Tech and Emory University in Atlanta, USA, made the disorder detectable due to the app. Just by analyzing the pale appearance of some parts of either the nails, palm or tongue Anemia could be effective.

How it works

The app’s algorithm is based on the Wilbur Lam and his team at Emory University. By assessing the concentration of hemoglobin from the color of fingernail beds the app can detect Anemia.

Anemia test using app

The fingernail color is a good indicator of the blood’s hemoglobin levels because our nails don’t contain any dark pigment-producing cells that would mask the telling hue. Once you take a photograph through the app, it uses the image metadata. It then normalizes the background lighting conditions to accurately detect the actual paleness of your fingernail bed.

A four-week study conducted with the app involving 337 people with a range of blood conditions. It includes 72 healthy control subjects revealed that the app outperformed physicians assessing hemoglobin levels from a physical exam. Researchers believe that the app should be used only for screening, and not for clinical diagnosis. They added with additional research, the app could provide the accuracy it needed to replace blood-based testing methods.

By now we can say if we know at least one anemic it’s easily detectable. It will be interesting to see how people benefit from this app once it is rolled out for users globally. As AI and machine learning become more ubiquitous, we can only expect that smartphone-based diagnosis will become more popular.


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