Using smartphone images to predict whether children have anaemia

Rearchers from University College London and University of Ghana have used images of the eye and face for anaemia screening

baby looking at smartphone
Dr Christabel Enweronu-Laryea, University of Ghana

New research from University College London and University of Ghana has explored the use of smartphone photographs in screening for anaemia among children.

The study, which was published in PLOS ONE, involved using smartphone-based colorimetry to develop a non-invasive technique for detecting anaemia from photographs of the lower eyelid, the sclera, and the mucosal membrane adjacent to the lower lip.

Researchers recruited 62 patients under the age of four at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Ghana. The screening method had a sensitivity of 92.9% and a specificity of 89.7%.

“These results add to the body of evidence suggesting that smartphone colorimetry is likely to be a useful tool for making anaemia screening more widely available,” the study authors concluded.

Study author and PhD candidate, Thomas Wemyss, highlighted the promising nature of the results.

“An affordable and reliable technique to screen for anaemia using a smartphone could drive long-term improvements in quality of life for a large amount of people,” Wemyss said.