The mobile-healer: advanced design for instant analyses

Due to the inexpensive additional devices modern smartphone can become a cardiograph, an ultrasound scanner, or even be transformed into a miniature diagnostic laboratory. RBC magazine examined the most ambitious development

Photo: University of California, Los Angeles

Cancer assistant to developing countries

Head of the smartphone, which is able to analyze human DNA — this invention presented in January 2017 in the journal Nature Communications, an international team of scientists from Stockholm, Uppsala and California universities. It is a lightweight, portable microscope, which is mounted on the camera of the mobile device (it is compatible with the model Nokia Lumia 1020) and analyzes DNA samples for mutations associated with a range of illnesses, including cancer. The principle is simple: the researcher places the tissue sample into the container, a nozzle microscope “reads” the image of the biomaterial and concludes whether the DNA fragments deviations, indicating the disease. The results of the analysis are displayed on the screen of the smartphone. In the course of experiments, the device successfully analyzed cancer cells with precision comparable to laboratory equipment. Nozzle, according to the inventors, will cost no more than $500, that is four times cheaper than the most inexpensive laboratories for DNA analysis. The device is designed to help physicians in developing countries.

Universal from Star trek

Device for the diagnosis Scanadu Scout is a commercial development. It in 2013, was invented by the engineers of the American startup Scanadu. They were inspired by the tricorder used in the TV series Star Trek was used by Dr. McCoy. Attaching a Scout for ten seconds to his head, the user has a smartphone information about a wide range of parameters — body temperature, pressure, respiratory rate, heart rate, basic ECG, etc. Inside the device is a 32 — bit processor running OS Micrium (used in NASA), and a set of sensors. Scanadu has collected to develop a crowd-funding $1.6 million, then drew another $50 million from investors. Price of the device from $150 to $200. Problem Scout the dispute with us regulator the FDA, which delayed the licensing of medical status of the gadget, and in early 2017, demanded that the manufacturer stop supporting the device.

What are silent men

“laboratory in the pocket” in July 2016, implemented by scientists from the Medical University of Doccia and the University of Illinois — their article was published in the journal Fertility and Sterility. The authors decided to help men who because of embarrassment or lack of funds don’t go to the doctor for sperm analysis. The low quality of the semen is the cause of 30% of the cases when couples can’t conceive a child. The invention is a set of elements, the main of which — a powerful lens with a thickness of 1 mm, which is placed on the smartphone camera and transformerait it in the microscope with a 555-fold increase. The kit also includes a pipette for suctioning the sample and the plexiglass for the application of the biomaterial and the compound with a nozzle microscope. According to the analysis device counts the total number and the percentage of motile sperm. If performance is not normal, the user should consult a doctor for a precise verdict, although the accuracy of the analysis, say the inventors, is not inferior to laboratory tests. The device under the brand Tenga is now available for purchase in Japan for the modest price of less than $10.

ELISA for the poor

In February 2015 a team of scientists from the University of California reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine the invention, with which any doctor with a smartphone can in 15 minutes to test for HIV and syphilis. A small device connects with the gadget via a headphone Jack. The microchip is inserted into a plastic container with a drop of blood test. When the “cassette” with the biomaterial is in the system for Express diagnostics, the user needs to run on your smartphone a special application for the start of the procedure. The results are stored in memory and displayed on the screen of the smartphone. Their quality, the assurances of researchers, is not inferior to a laboratory ELISA test ELISA. But ELISA equipment costs up to $18 thousand, and the production system, invented by scientists, cost no more than $34. In Rwanda, where the experiments were conducted with the development, the accuracy of the test results of nearly 100 pregnant women is close to 100%.

Photo: DR, Columbia University, University of California, Los Angeles

Ivan Osipov

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