An App For Anemia: Tests Don't Need To Be Bloody Anymore

fingernails
fingernails
(Photo: Wiiber-Züüg/ Facebook)

At present, statistic shows that about 180 million Chinese may be anemic. This health problem is not just prevalent in China alone. The number of people who are suffering from this blood disorder is increasing around the globe.

Usually can be diagnosed by drawing blood samples from the patient and observing it over a microscope, a recent app developed by an engineering student at Emory University enables people to test themselves for anemia anywhere and anytime hassle-free, according to Daily Mail.

The newly developed app function as a scanner that examines photos of the fingernail beds for symptoms of anemia. Doing so can already "prevent out-of-control bleeding - in the blood."

Most people would refrain from undergoing tests for anemia since the process are costly and painful. Typically, fingers are often pricked by a needle to gather enough sample for the blood test. Once the specimen has been gathered, clinical laboratory technologists would then analyze the tissue and come up with the results.

With the use of the app, people don't have to undergo such painful experience anymore. All they have to do is just download the app, let the software scan a picture of their fingernails, and wait for the result after a couple of seconds.

Wilbur Lam, the bioengineer and pediatric hematologist at Georgia Tech and Emory University in Atlanta who led the research, said, "This is a way for anyone to screen themselves for anemia and all they have to do is download an app. It doesn't require any blood at all."

Robert Mannino, the student who is behind the creation of the app, is one of the millions who is suffering from anemia.

With his blood disorder, Mannino has to undergo several blood transfusions now and then for him to stay healthy. Since he was not always anemic, he has to be tested now and then to know if his red cells are still in safe digits or not. That was the time when Lam challenged him to create an app that can help him in his condition as well as other people suffering from the same disorder.

Lam added, "Images that were focused on the fingernails had data that was very tightly correlated with the hemoglobin levels from his blood count."

To get accurate results, Mannino worked with over hundreds of anemia patients of different ethnicities and ages. According to Discover Magazine, he used the photos of the patients' fingernails and blood counts for his app to function.

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