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Mobile Devices Used To Diagnose, Manage Illnesses; Patients Need Not Visit Doctor’s Clinic

Update Date: Feb 22, 2017 07:10 AM EST

Mobile smartphone devices are now revolutionizing the diagnosis, treatment and management of illnesses like cancer and diabetes. Researchers say that add-ons and apps are turning the handhelds into medical devices.

Shwetak Patel, engineering professor at the University of Washington, said that microphones in mobile smartphone devices can be used to diagnose asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). "With these enabling technologies you can manage chronic diseases outside of the clinic and with a non-invasive clinical tool," Patel said speaking to the annual meeting of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Patel added that camera and flash on mobile smartphone devices can be used to diagnose blood disorders like iron and hemoglobin deficiency. HemaApp is an app that can measure hemoglobin without a needle. It is shown to perform well compared to the standard device. However, researchers are still seeking the approval of US Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) for the app's wider use.

Mobile smartphone devices can also be used to diagnose osteoporosis. By turning on the right app and tapping the elbow, the phone's motion picture sensor can pick up the resonances. If there is a reduced density of the bone, the frequency will change. An osteoporotic bone will have the same result.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Mynatt, professor of Georgia Insitute of Technology, said the mobile smartphone devices are already helping patients manage cancer and diabetes. Women newly diagnosed with breast cancer have been provided with a tablet that they can get access to information on their diagnosis, treatment and side effects.

Patients who will not be able to go to the doctor's clinic will benefit from this technique. They can reduce time, money and effort while being able to interact with the health care provider on a daily basis. Mobile smartphone devices are already being used as calories counter, pedometers and even measure heartbeats.

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