What relationship can a blood pressure monitor have with… a selfie?

Just a few years ago, when the selfie was no longer equated with blasphemy, and began to serve, among others, as a tool for earning money, hardly anyone would think that it could have a more noble purpose. Researchers from the University of Toronto and the University Hospital of Hangzhou University are conducting research proving that the fashion for taking videos and photos of yourself can bring a lot of medical benefits to smartphone users. How?

It turns out that it is possible to measure blood pressure while taking a short video – and without using any additional tools. All you need is the light emitted by the phone screen. Reading this type of data from a photo is not yet 100% possible, while a selfie video provides enough information to assess a person’s blood pressure. More specifically, this method uses the reflection of light from the skin. On its basis, the condition of proteins in the skin (including hemoglobin) is checked. In terms of changes, 900 photos are analyzed, which a special application takes about 30 seconds. Using machine learning algorithms, scientists are able to translate the obtained measurements into data on blood pressure in the body. So far, the accuracy of the results has been around 95%!

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The study group, although it consisted of over 1,300 people, consisted only of Europeans and East Asians, and thus – no tests were carried out on people with darker skin color. Therefore, the researchers are not sure how the application will cope with reading data from the reflection from the skin with a higher concentration of melanin. Because it can affect the reception of hemoglobin information, it is not known whether the measurement accuracy rate will continue to be as high. In theory, the whole process should be the same without any problems, but studies of people with darker skin tone are needed to finally confirm the sense of the whole mechanism.

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If the application is released and we can only measure blood pressure using a smartphone, there will certainly be some kind of breakthrough in the technology and medical industry, but also in the life of each of us. Although blood pressure monitors are now quite common and many people have them in their homes for private use, the phone may turn out to be much more convenient and replace traditional blood pressure monitors, if only the effectiveness of the tested application is confirmed.

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