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Low-Cost, Mobile Phone-Based Detection of Neonatal Jaundice

Chetan Patil of Temple University in the U.S. is adapting camera mobile phones for the simple and low cost measurement of bilirubin levels to identify jaundice in newborns by photographing the skin. Jaundice is a common disorder in newborns and can often be easily treated with sunlight. In developed countries, bilirubin measurements are standard-of-care, but in low resource settings, detection can be prohibitively expensive. If jaundice is not treated, it can lead to long-term disabilities. In Phase I, while at Vanderbilt University, they tested several approaches for adapting the camera and flash on different mobile phones and designed an external dual filter, which underwent preliminary testing in American newborns. They also built an app to instruct a minimally-trained and low- literate user. In Phase II, they will improve accuracy by more rigorous calibration, testing the sensitivity of different skin sites, and utilizing raw image data. They will also perform field studies in Nigeria to test their device for accuracy, usability, and adoption in the field.

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