Poke a finger and check for parasites in the blood
Smartphone scientists are turning these ubiquitous phones into microscope and other medical tools that can help fight disease in remote parts of the world.
The latest researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, use smartphones
Running a video microscope to target challenges in parts of Central Africa
Some devastating infections caused by tiny parasites.
A small pilot study in Cameroon showed that the device could measure certain worms twisting their fingers in a matter of minutes
Draw blood and quickly determine who is the candidate for important drugs
Who is likely to have serious side effects due to this drug.
If large-scale research is successful, then
The group reported on Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine that what is called "CellScope Loa" can help restore a program to eliminate the disease that causes blindness and disability in the region.
In essence, the instrument is a cheap portable laboratory.
No lab technicians required
Part of the trend of medical use of smartphones is far beyond simple tasks such as measuring heartbeat or sending a photo of a suspicious mole to a doctor.
"This is a very important technology," said Dr. Baylor Medical School . "
Peter Hotez, well.
Well-known experts who were not involved in the new study for neglected tropical diseases.
"This is very practical," he added . " By eliminating the need for specially trained health workers and expensive equipment in remote villages.
This is the latest attempt in a series of attempts to use smartphones as mini phoneslabs.
Scientists at Columbia University recently invented a device powered by a smartphone to detect signs of HIV and syphilis in the blood.
Testing the tool at a clinic in Rwanda.
At the Massachusetts General Hospital, doctors are working on a tool to capture cancer in blood or tissue samples via a smartphone camera.
Hotez says there are also researchers using cell phone cameras to detect intestinal parasites in stool samples.
Wednesday's study is aimed at a public health dilemma: a drug called ivamex can fight two tiny worms and spread them to people through insect bites, which in most parts of Africa will
River blindness and lymphatic filars.
Large-scale campaigns to treat affected communities are being carried out in many regions.
But in some parts of central Africa, treatment activity has to be suspended because some people also have a third worm, called Loa loa, which could trigger a potentially fatal neurological response to the drug, Dr.
Thomas natman of the United StatesS.
National Institutes of Health.
Natman added that at present, the only way to judge who is at risk requires manual testing of blood samples, which takes hours, and workers who are specially trained, the workers did not at all work with the Berkeley team on large-scale treatment projects to develop a faster alternative.
UC says researchers created a handheld device that converts smartphones into video microscopy and uses custom software to record and analyze movements in blood cells that twist signals to worm larvae
Dr. Berkeley bioengineer
Daniel Fletcher, who is in charge of the work
"We will not only use this phone as a computer power supply or camera, but we will also run the test," Fletcher explained . ".
How it works: squeeze the finger
Stab the blood into a small tube and slide the tube into 3-D printed base.
Click on the smartphone above and its camera is arranged on the blood sample.
Touch the screen to launch the app and images-
Process the twisting motion of the size and shape that needs attention in the system analysis and report the count.
Researchers reported on Wednesday that when used in 33 potential infected people in Cameroon, the results were comparable to standard microscope tests.
Next, natman said the team hopes to test the devices in a study of at least 30,000 people in Cameroon this summer.
He estimated that the cost of manufacturing the devices could be between $50 and $100, excluding mobile phones.
The work was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, NIH and other groups.