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New app uses photos to test for anaemia

By John Von Radowitz

Experts have developed a smartphone app that checks people for anaemia using pictures of their fingernails.

The program records levels of haemoglobin - the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells - by measuring the paleness of the fingernail bed.

The developers believe the app will ultimately replace blood tests for the condition.

A commercial version of the program is expected to be made available next spring.

Dr Wilbur Lam, whose team created the app at Emory University in the US, said "All other point-of-care anaemia detection tools require external equipment, and represent trade-offs between invasiveness, cost, and accuracy.

"This is a standalone app whose accuracy is on par with currently available point-of-care tests."

Anaemia, which is caused by a lack of red blood cells or insufficient haemoglobin, affects two billion people worldwide.

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