Snap Cholesterol Selfies With New Smartphone App And Device

/ 4 years ago

1218_13_019_610x407A new smartphone app and attachment aim to give home cholesterol testers a clearer picture of their cholesterol health

Cornell University is developing new tech which aims to bring cholesterol testing to smartphones, which would make the cholesterol levels both more specific and easier to track. Home Cholesterol test kits have been around since the early 1990’s, catering to those with high levels of cholesterol (which puts them at a higher risk of developing heart disease) who need to check their cholesterol levels more than once every couple of years. However the majority of home test take total cholesterol readings only, without separating out the “good”, high-density lipprotien (HDL, which helps prevent cholesterol from building up in the arteries) from the “bad”, low-density variety (LDL, the main source of building that blokes the arteries), thereby denying home testers a clear picture of their actual cholesterol health.

The University of Cornell’s Mechanical Engineers have developed a system called the Smartphone Cholesterol Application for Rapid Diagnostics, aka smartCARD. The application includes a device that is attached to a smartphone and ueses its camera to capture an image of a blood, sweat or saliva sample inserted into the device via a standard test strip. The image is then sent to the related app, which will use colorimetric analysis to read cholesterol levels in the sample provided. Cornell’s associate professor of Mechanical Engineering David Erickson has said that while the prototype only captures total cholesterol numbers, his team is already working on breaking out LDL and HDL readings, as well as measuring triglyceride (fat in the blood that provides energy) and vitamin D (which helps the body absorb calcium) levels.

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David Erickson went on to explain;

One of the challenges with deploying home diagnostics is that the cost of the machine to read test strips can be expensive, difficult to use and unfamiliar. However what’s been transformative in the last few years is that now everybody is carrying around this incredibly powerful computer that they use all the time, are very familiar with, and have already paid for. By building simple systems that can use the features of  the smartphones people are already carrying significantly lowers the cost to entry.”

In this case, Erickson is specifically referring to today’s sophisticated smartphone cameras, which allow his optics-based device to capture the information it needs to detect bio-markers in a blood, sweat or saliva sample. Erickson and his team have already formed a company called VitaMe Technologies, which is in the process of commercializing a few devices related to personal nutrition monitoring. Erickson expects it will take a year to get the necessary approvals to bring their smartphone-based cholesterol test to the market. Erickson also added;

“You can imagine being able to link up your results to your Facebook page and potentially compete with others to obtain the best Vitamin D status, or best cholesterol level. What we hope for is to eventually allow people to take a ‘healthy-selfie’, basically a snapshot of their own bloodwork.”

Thank you CNET for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of CNET.

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