Turkish physician invents app to detect anemia in 2 seconds

Turkish physician invents app to detect anemia in 2 seconds

Dr. Selim Suner, director of emergency and disaster medicine at Brown University, has developed a medical application that can measure anemia intraocularly in just two seconds without taking blood samples from the patient.

With Suner’s artificial intelligence-backed app eMoglobin, the level of anemia in a patient can be instantly measured by a square photo taken with a mobile phone. The application, which will be a world first, will save lives in the diagnosis of hemorrhagic emergency patients, where every second counts.

It is estimated that approximately one-third of the world’s population has anemia. To detect anemia, which manifests itself with symptoms of weakness, fatigue and pallor, it is necessary to go to the hospital, undergo blood tests and wait for the report, which takes about two hours.

However, with the telemedicine application developed by the Turkish doctor-engineer living in America, anemia can now be measured literally “within the blink of an eye”. The app can be used worldwide once it receives Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and will reduce examinations from two hours to two seconds.

Dr. Suner took part in an international conference in Antalya last week and revealed the details of the eMoglobin app he developed with his team, which traces its story from Robert College in Istanbul to the Faculty of Engineering of Brown University in the USA . he applied to the medical faculty of the same university and now works in the Emergency Medicine Department at Rhode Island Hospital.

Dr. During an interview, Suner explained how he became an emergency medicine specialist in the US, where he initially went to become an engineer. “After Robert College in Türkiye, I went to Brown University in the USA to study engineering. First I studied electrical engineering and later I switched to biomedical engineering. I started my undergraduate degree and worked as a paramedic in ambulances to complete my daily to cover expenses. , I met the emergency medicine community there and by chance my professor asked if anyone wanted to study medicine. So I put my hand up and entered medical school the next day,” Suner said.

Maintaining that engineering has always been his first love, Dr. Suner said: “While I was working as an assistant in emergency medicine, I thought about how I could combine my love of engineering with medicine. The anemia project started from there. In 80 % of emergency patients, blood is definitely taken and analyzed. Hemoglobin, which indicates whether a patient has anemia or not, is one of the measurements analyzed. We thought of measuring hemoglobin ‘without blood’ and quickly and that’s how this project started.”

“First of all, it wasn’t a phone app. We took intraocular pictures with a digital camera. We evaluated that digital data mathematically and made correlations with the hemoglobin data of the patients. The results were good. The cameras in phones are now so powerful that these phones have a large capacity to display megapixels and 16-bit data,” said the doctor.

“This is why the project turned into a mobile phone application. Anyone who wants to take the test takes a picture of their eye with a mobile phone and after two seconds the hemoglobin concentration is determined,” he said.

Dr. Suner explained that they developed the eMoglobin app by comparing measurements taken from patients’ blood with data obtained from photographs of both their right and left eyes in studies involving hundreds of patients with the approval of the ethics committee.

“We compared the data taken from the right and left eyes of hundreds of patients. We have 3,500 pictures in this regard. We are currently working with another 500 patients. Looking at the data, there is a margin of error of 2 grams per deciliter, which is a very tolerable level. For example, if someone has a hemoglobin level of 10 grams per deciliter in their blood work, that gives a value between 8 and 12 grams per deciliter in our measurement. This margin of error is sufficient clinically, ” he remarked.

Lifesaving in emergency bleeding

Emphasizing that it is very difficult to perform blood tests, especially in developing countries, due to limited laboratories and facilities, the doctor noted that the measurement of hemoglobin levels is very important, especially for the diagnosis of nutritional anemia.

With this application, the anemia levels of many people can be quickly measured and interventions can be made accordingly. The fact that the application can be used before hospitalization is required is also very important. For example, cases of internal bleeding risk can be dealt with immediately with the help of the application. The test can be repeated after half an hour, and if there is high bleeding, it will be detected in seconds and can reduce hospital expenses.

“To be able to use it in patients, we need to get FDA approval in the US and we need to apply with certain data. We plan to do this this year (2023). Once we receive the required data, we will submit the FDA application. It will be very easy to distribute it worldwide after approval. It will be immediately available for download from phone app stores and anyone in the world will be able to access it easily,” said Dr. Suner explained.

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