DIY diagnosis of ear infections: the following program may soon be available: photos
Dr. Randall Bly, an associate professor of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at the Washington University Medical School in Seattle Children's Hospital, uses an experimental smartphone and a paper funnel to test the daughter's ear
Dennis Wise / University Washington
Scientists are developing a smartphone that, using a simple paper funnel, can help parents detect fluid accumulation in the child's ear – one sign of ear infection.
Food and Drug Administration before it can enter the market. However, early data released on Wednesday Science Translational Medicine shows that a smartphone can also carry out a costly test in a doctor's office.
Although there are many health-related programs, it stands out because it uses the phone's microphone and speaker to detect the diagnosis.
"All you need to do to detect ear fluid is to use sound," says Justin Chan, a graduate of Paul Allen's computer school. Science and Engineering at Washington University in Seattle
Doctors and parents have created a small funnel to focus on this sound. The funnel tip fits into the ear canal. Then the program sends short, soft sound impulses to the "ear bird", says Chan.
The channel takes the sound of this sound and the program analyzes. If there is liquid behind the ear drum, echoes sound differently than in a healthy ear. The phone's algorithm expresses it almost immediately.
Chan uses wine glass as an analogy. "If the wine cup is empty or half full, it will produce a different sound when it is pressed," he says. "And that's exactly what we do with our tool."
Chan is a major study involving other scientists, including his close associate Dr. Sharat Raju from Washington University and Seattle Children's Hospital and Research Institute.
About 50 children had their ears checked with the program. Some of these children had previously planned surgery for their ear drums, which allowed doctors to check the results of the program. About 85 percent of scientists say Compared to the technologies currently used in clinics using anolaringology, time was right
Chan and his colleagues started a company that would develop the program as a commercial product. He says they are looking for FDA OK to sell it. The Agency will need more research to assess the programme's performance and reliability, but it expects the group to be able to collect these data by the end of the year.
"It is very promising, but it is too early to say exactly how it is," according to newly released data, says Dr. Kenny Chan, Head of Children's Otolaryngology at Colorado Children's Hospital. "We have to wait and see."
One big question is how useful will it be for parents and doctors?
The liquid behind the ear drum is a symptom of ear infection, but "not all fluids are an infection," says Pamela Mudd, a child and child sore specialist in Washington, "The National Children's Health System". something that can affect my child is happening, rather than diagnosing ear infection. [19659021 "/>
Doctors really need to investigate a child to diagnose this diagnosis, which is based on an eye, temperature, and other clinical signs, she says
. and the other light fluid can accumulate behind the ear drum rather than cause the infection, she says. When she examines a child's ear and can't tell, she directs the child to a clinic where doctors use an instrument called a tympanometer that measures the fluid behind the ear drum using sound waves.
At the same time, an audiology clinic often checks for hearing loss that helps guide treatment solutions, such as whether the child will use the tubes to drain the built-in fluid.
Assuming that the program is effective Mudd says he would like to talk to his parents about how to interpret the results before recommending to buy them.
"They can't know they need to understand what the devices say to them," she says. Developers argue that the program can help parents avoid leaving for a doctor's office, but Mudd says it may be the opposite
"This can increase the use of our health care system" if parents take a child to a doctor for what may be temporary a little liquid behind the ear drum. There may be cases where it is appropriate, she says
Chan of Colorado Anolaringologist is also concerned. "To guess that this may change the need for a doctor's visit, I think it's a little far away," he says.
Doctors encountered this problem when Apple sold a clock capable of detecting irregular heartbeat, notes Oliver Aalami, a Stanford University vascular surgeon who is also studying mobile health programs.
"Initially, there was a lot of hype around it, but if you're talking to cardiologists, they're very worried," he says, because suddenly doctors were confronted with a number of patients with great concern and it was not clear whether all new appointments and drug interventions and the tests were really helpful.
Because of these problems, Apple is now conducting a major study of further research to assess the benefits and risks of the program. Assuming that the ear drum program gets FDA clearance, Aalami suspects that a similar study may be needed to find out if the program is useful.
His first impression, including a study document, was that the program would be more beneficial to both the US and all parts of the world with less medical resources, the doctor's office. "It may be a bit over-developed for home use," he says.
But inventors seek to use the home market. "It's very similar to a thermometer, where if you think your child has flu or cold, check their temperature several times a day," says Justin Chan. "We think this has a similar purpose."
He says that the developers did not set the price yet, but wants to make the program more widely available, especially in developing countries, so it would be appropriate kainuojama [19659009Šiamjaunamkompiuteriųmokslininkuišisprojektasgalėtųbūtiįspūdingasjokarjerospradžia"Žinaukadtaikažkaskasgalipaliestimilijonusgyvybių"-sakojis"Irmanaukadtyrimuosetaiganaretai
You can contact NPR scientific correspondent Richard Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.