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Selfies Might Help To Track Blood Pressure

A new research theory suggests that taking the blood pressure of a patient can become as easy as taking a video selfie if a new smartphone app proves to be helpful.

High blood pressure can be a warning sign towards a heart attack or stroke, but most of the patients with hypertension are unaware of it. Developing software which can help take blood pressure at home could potentially help save lives.

Transdermal optical imaging is a new technology that gives a picture of the blood flow in the face, which shows the blood pressure also, said, researchers.

Lead researcher Kang Lee said, “We found, using a smartphone, we can accurately measure blood pressure within 30 seconds.” Kand Lee is the research chair of developmental neuroscience at the University of Toronto.”We want to use this technology to help us to make people aware of their blood pressure and monitor it,” he said.

Lee and the researchers do not want this technology to replace the traditional “cuff” blood pressure measuring, but rather to make blood pressure easy to take at home.

How does it work?

According to Lee, the technology uses light to penetrate into the skin and optical sensors in smartphones create an image of the blood flow patterns. These patterns are used to predict blood pressure.

“Once you know how blood concentration changes in different parts of your face, then we can learn a lot of things about your physiology, such as your heart rate, your stress, and your blood pressure,” he said.

The discovery was a result of an accident, Lee was trying to use transdermal optic imaging to develop a way of telling when kids are lying by correlating blood flow to areas of the face with fibbing.

Lee and his fellow researchers tried the technology out on more than 1,300 Canadians and Chinese adults with normal blood pressure. The participants had a two-minute video recording using an iPhone with transdermal optical imaging software. The result showed that the video prediction of systolic blood pressure (upper number) was 95% accurate. The prediction of diastolic pressure (bottom number) was 96% accurate.

Lee also says that there are several problems that need to be solved before this technique is ready to be used. The recordings made in the study were in a highly controlled environment. The researchers want to make the system work with normal home lighting and to cut short the time needed for the recording to 30 seconds. They are also required to test the technology on people with high and low blood pressure and a variety of skin tones.

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