App detecting jaundice in babies- A success
According to a new study, a smartphone app that identifies severe jaundice in newborn babies by scanning their eyes could be a life-saver in areas that lack access to expensive screening devices.
The app, called neoSCB, was developed by clinicians and engineers and was used to screen for jaundice in over 300 newborn babies, following an initial pilot study on 37 newborns at University College London Hospital.
For the large-scale study, published in Paediatrics, the team tested over 300 babies with the app, which analyses images taken on a smartphone camera to quantify the yellowness of the white part of the eye (sclera)-a classic sign of neonatal jaundice. Analysing the yellowness of the eye just by looking is unreliable, and the neoSCB app can give early diagnosis of neonatal jaundice requiring treatment.
The study compared the effectiveness of the neoSCB app with conventional screening methods. Of the 336 babies tested by the app, 79 were severely jaundiced newborns, and the app correctly identified 74 of them. This is in line with the accuracy of the most common conventional screening method, a non-invasive device known as a transcutaneous bilirubinometer, which correctly identified 76.
The transcutaneous bilirubinometer works by measuring the yellow pigment under the newborn's skin to give a measure of jaundice levels. All screening results are then followed up by blood tests to determine the type of treatment required. So with this app, screening will definitely be faster and reliable.
Dr. Nandita Mohan
BDS, MDS( Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry)