App Detects A Child's Ear Infection

May 21, 2019

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Generally speaking, using an internet connection to diagnose a medical condition is rarely recommended. But technology is getting better and can better help you identify problems you should discuss with your doctor. The most recent example is an app that promises to identify one of the key symptoms of ear infections in kids. Researchers are close to finalizing an app that would allow a parent to assess whether or not their child has an ear infection. They're working on a system that uses soft noises emitted from your phone that are funneled into your child's eardrum via a rolled up piece of paper. A small piece of paper is folded into a funnel shape and inserted into the ear canal to focus the app's sounds (which resemble bird chirps) toward the child’s ear. The app measures sound waves bouncing off the eardrum. If pus or fluid is present, the sound waves will be altered, indicating a possible infection. The parent would then receive a text from the app notifying them of the presence of buildup in the middle ear. In testing the app as able to identify fluid in patients' ears about 85% of the time. That’s roughly as well as traditional exams, which involve visual identification as well as specialized acoustic devices. The app does not yet have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and there is no timetable for when it might be commercially available. If it passes muster, it would join a number of FDA-approved “smart” medical diagnostic tools, including the AliveKor CardiaBand for the Apple Watch, which conducts EKG monitoring for heart irregularities.

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SOURCE: Mental Floss

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