Smartphone pictures of your eyelids can tell your hemoglobin levels | Instant News

Digital technology has greatly revolutionized the health care system, improved patient care and outcomes. In the near future, you may not be required to visit a clinic or hospital to check your blood hemoglobin level. Also, you may not have to undergo a painful blood test. Also read – Hemoglobin levels are associated with an increased risk of dementia

Immediately, a smartphone image of a person’s eyelids can help detect blood hemoglobin levels – deep protein red blood cells which carries oxygen. This is possible, thanks to a new smartphone application developed by a research team from Purdue University in the US. Also read – Do you suffer from anemia? You can develop dementia

This new approach will enable remote blood hemoglobin testing detect anemia, acute kidney injury and bleeding, note the researchers. Also read – Detect anemia without blood tests with this new smartphone application

Using software, the researchers turned the built-in camera from a smartphone into a hyperspectral imaging that reliably measures hemoglobin levels. Interestingly, it does not require hardware or accessory modifications.

For their innovation, researchers have used a technique known as super spectral resolution spectroscopy. This technique can virtually convert photos obtained with a low resolution system such as a smartphone camera to a high resolution digital spectral signal.

Why are the eyelids and not other body parts?

The researchers chose the inner eyelid as a sensing site because microvasculature is easily seen there. Plus, it is easily accessible and has a relatively uniform reddish color. In addition, the inner eyelid is not affected by skin color, which eliminates the need for personal calibration.

How does this new technique work?

This new technique requires the patient to draw the lower eyelid to expose the small blood vessels underneath. A healthcare professional or trained person then uses a new smartphone application to take pictures of the eyelid.

Applying a super spectral resolution algorithm, detailed spectral information from camera images is extracted. Other computational algorithms then calculate blood hemoglobin content by detecting unique spectral features.

The mobile application is equipped with several features that help stabilize smartphone image quality and synchronize smartphone flashlights to obtain consistent images. There is also an eyelid-shaped guide on the screen to ensure that the user maintains a consistent distance between the smartphone camera and the patient’s eyelids.

A pilot clinical trial with more than 150 volunteers showed that mobile health tests can provide measurements comparable to traditional blood tests. Prediction errors for smartphone applications are found in five to 10 percent of those measured by blood tests.

The study was published in the journal Optica.

Hemoglobin: What is it and what role does it play in your body?

Hemoglobin (Hb) is a protein found in your body red blood cells which carries oxygen to your body’s organs and tissues. It also carries carbon dioxide from your organs and tissues back to your lungs. This protein gives blood red color.

Hemoglobin levels vary from person to person depending on age, sex, race. Men usually have higher hemoglobin levels than women. The normal range for hemoglobin is:

  • For men, 13.5 to 17.5 grams per deciliter
  • For women, 12.0 to 15.5 grams per deciliter
  • The normal range for children varies according to age and sex.

If your hemoglobin level is lower than the normal range, that means you have a low red blood cell count. This condition is called anemia. There are many causes of anemia, however iron deficiency is the most common cause of this condition. Iron is very important because it helps your body make hemoglobin. Anemia can also be caused by vitamin deficiency, bleeding and chronic diseases.

If your hemoglobin is higher than normal levels, it might be for the following reasons:

  • Polycythemia vera – a blood disorder that occurs when your bone marrow makes too many red blood cells
  • Lung disease
  • Dehydration
  • Live at height
  • Heavy smoking
  • Burnt out
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Extreme physical exercise

Hemoglobin tests can be done as part of a routine check to screen for the above health problems.

With input from IANS

Published: May 23, 2020 3:03 PM

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