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Talking up a new role for cell phones in telemedicine
Date:5/5/2008

at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Two recent studies by other researchers showed that cell phones can be used to acquire and transmit images of wounds and rashes to off-site locations for diagnosis, he notes.

In the new study, Whitesides collaborated with researchers in Brazil to design a prototype system that combines cell phone cameras with easy-to-use, paper-based diagnostic tests that undergo color changes when exposed to certain disease markers. The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of the system by using paper test-strips to collect and characterize artificial urine samples, as urine can be easily obtained from patients and contains a wide range of disease markers.

Using a simple cell phone camera, the scientists took pictures of the color-changing test-strips and transmitted them remotely to an off-site expert. The trained expert accurately measured glucose and protein levels used as hallmarks to diagnose various kidney diseases from the test-strip image. Similar tests can be conducted on other body fluids, including teardrops and saliva, the researchers say.

Besides diagnosing diseases in humans, the system can also be used to detect disease in plants and livestock and for testing the quality of water and food, the researchers say. The development of cheaper, mass-produced diagnostic tests will make the system more widely accessible in the future, notes Whitesides, who is known for his pioneering research toward making medical diagnostic tests more widely available for the developing world. He is also the recipient of the 2007 Priestley medal, ACS highest honor.


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Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
202-872-4400
American Chemical Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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