How Smartphones Affect Our Bodies: The Good, the Bad, and the Radiation

35. Diagnosing Malaria Malaria is a life-threatening disease that can be hard to diagnose correctly. Many times health care workers in countries where malaria isn’t common… Trista - September 1, 2019
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35. Diagnosing Malaria

Malaria is a life-threatening disease that can be hard to diagnose correctly. Many times health care workers in countries where malaria isn’t common won’t think to test for it. Additionally, they may not have enough experience to be able to make an accurate diagnosis.

A device created by researchers in the Netherlands utilizes a smartphone’s camera. A tiny glass ball is placed on the camera lens of a smartphone to transform it into a microscope by increasing the view over eight times. By being able to zoom in on a blood sample further, doctors can detect malaria, which shows up as a dark spot contained by a lighter ring.

Credit: New Scientist

36. Identifying Parkinson’s Disease

Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and ALS affect many people around the world. Over 10 million people live with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s affects the nervous system and causes rigid limbs, slow movement, and muscle tremors.

Parkinson’s is most often identified after it has progressed. In Greece, researchers have created an app that works with fitness bands, smartwatches, and smartphones. This app tracks numerous biological clues that could indicate the beginning stages of Parkinson’s disease. Also, this app provides games to help improve a patient’s physical and emotional state as well as diet. Thanks to artificial intelligence present in smartphones, we may be able to identify the onset of several diseases.

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37. Eliminating Respiratory Disease

The World Health Organization has determined that one of the top causes of death for children around the world is a respiratory disease. This condition is caused by a wide variety of things, including genetics, environment, and pollution.

Physicians from Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a smartphone app designed to identify acute respiratory disease in children. This app works by analyzing how a child’s cough sounds. Experts believe that the app, called ResAppDx, may be able to replace CT scans, X-rays, blood and sputum tests, and spirometry. This innovative smartphone app is currently going through clinical trials to test its effectiveness and get it ready for mainstream usage.

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38. Measuring Blood Flow

When a patient is getting ready for a serious procedure like dialysis, bypass surgery, or a coronary angiogram, doctors must test how well blood flows through their arteries. This is commonly done using the Allen Test. With the Allen Test, the doctor will press two spots on the wrist to stop blood flow for a few seconds. After the pressure is released, they then monitor to see how long it takes to return color to the area.

A study found that a free smartphone app called Instant Heart Rate is more accurate at analyzing blood flow than the Allen Test. Using a smartphone’s camera lens and light, the app tracks the light reflection from a person’s finger. It also examines changes in color or brightness that indicate changes in pulse.

Credit: NPR

39. Eye Exams

Going to the eye doctor can be a hassle. You’ve got to complete several stages of an exam, take a few tests, and then go through the process of choosing a pair of glasses. Thanks to smartphones, the process has gotten much more accessible.

Many companies in the United States offer online eye exams that utilize a computer or phone camera. The smartphone camera can figure out the right prescription, identify astigmatisms and colorblindness, as well as test light sensitivity. These tests are ideal for people between the ages of 18 and 39 looking to update their prescription. They don’t usually work for diagnosing cataracts or glaucoma.

Credit: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

40. Preventing Suicide

The tenth leading cause of death in the world is suicide. Research shows that suicide is happening more and more each year. There are ways to determine who may be at risk of contemplating suicide, but it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint when someone attempts it. Research teams and Vanderbilt University and Harvard University are looking into ways that smartphones can help to identify risk factors for suicide and offer ways to step in to stop it.

In their studies, they are monitoring people who have a high risk of attempting suicide. They are asked to wear sensors to track activity and sleep levels as well as answer text messages sent to them throughout the day. The idea is that smartphone technology will be able to see patterns that humans are unable to. Then scientists can create programs designed to flag people who are at immediate risk of attempting suicide so they can get help.