Emory University | Woodruff Health Sciences Center
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An app to diagnose anemia

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Diagnosing anemia typically involves drawing blood for testing in a lab—an unpleasant and potentially costly prospect for many. Dr. Melissa Young, with a colleague from Emory School of Medicine, Dr. William Lam, is testing a new smartphone app created by Emory and Georgia Tech that can diagnose anemia from photos of a patient’s nail bed. This project is funded by the Emory Global Health Institute. Young, assistant professor of global health, is focusing on the large refugee community in DeKalb County. That’s because anemia affects 40 percent of all refugees. If not properly diagnosed and treated, anemia may impair cognitive, behavioral, and psychomotor development in children; increase risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and neonatal/maternal mortality in pregnant women; and decrease work capacity and earning potential in adults. However, many refugees don’t get screened, often due to the cost.

Young will evaluate the app against the gold standard of blood testing as well as assess its usability in the hands of clinicians and patients at the DeKalb County Board of Health. This project represents a new research collaboration between Emory, Georgia Tech, CDC, and the DeKalb Board of Health for future global health research and implementation.

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"No bleeding required: anemia detection via smartphone" (12/4/19)


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