Friday, August 11, 2017

Miracles & Wonders: Medical tests on your smart phone

I've often said that part of the solution to the problem of healthcare is innovation that brings the cost down and simultaneously makes the care more widely available.

Consider: Researchers have developed a device that enables a smartphone to perform lab-grade medical diagnostic tests that typically require large, expensive instruments. It costs only $550.
It attaches to a smartphone and analyzes patient blood, urine, or saliva samples as reliably as clinic-based instruments. "It's capable of performing the three most common types of tests in medical diagnostics, so in practice, thousands of already-developed tests could be adapted to it," says the developer, Bioengineering and Electrical & Computer Engineering Professor Brian Cunningham.
Among the many diagnostic tests that can be adapted to its point-of-care smartphone format is an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), which detects and measures a wide variety of proteins and antibodies in blood and is commonly used for a wide range of health diagnostics tests. The system is capable of detecting the output of any test that uses a liquid that changes color, or a liquid that generates light output (such as from fluorescent dyes).
The device can also be applied to point-of use applications that include animal health, environmental monitoring, drug testing, manufacturing quality control, and food safety. The patented technology is available for license.

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