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    Wednesday, 20 March 2013 17:03

    Make your own microscope - from iPhone

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    gentaur-iphone-anti-microscopeSmartphones are changing the way people communicate. Now scientists further enhance their applicability in unexpected directions - diagnosis of intestinal parasites.
     
    It turns out that using a glass lens, costing $ 8, tape and cheap flashlight, iPhone 4 can be converted into a microscope detecting intestinal parasites according to the World Health Organization affects two billion people.

    The scientists have published their results in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. In the article they describe the analysis of 199 fecal samples using a "tuned" smartphone.
     
    Along with the standard light microscope, researchers analyzing and using the "iPhone microscope." The latter turns out to be less sensitive, but much more practical and portable. Scientists believe that it has great potential, especially in poor and remote areas where it is concentrated the bulk of morbidity.

    The World Health Organization warned that intestinal parasites affecting mostly in economically depressed areas where they contribute substantially to malnutrition in large populations. Most at risk are children who often develop anemia.
     
    Feasibility of smartphones to diagnose intestinal parasitic appears dependent on the type of pathogen and the degree of infestation. For example, using the smartphone to detect 81% of cases of threadworm, but only 14% of cases of small parasitic nematodes, snap on to the intestine with hooks. Scientists say this is due to the different number of eggs that emit various types of environmental faeces.

    High-tech gadget successfully diagnosed moderate to severe infestations, but performs poorly in passenger where the sample contains only a few eggs.

    Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a specialist in infectious diseases at Toronto General Hospital, and his team are trying to create an alternative test tool by gluing 3-millimeter lens to the iPhone 4S, which scientists routinely use in their daily lives. Bogoch points out, however, that any camera phone with optical zoom can be used for this purpose. As a light source they use less flashlight, working with only one battery. The entire "unit" cost less than $ 15, without of course the price of the phone itself, and can be assembled in less than 5 minutes.

    According to team efficiency by 80% for diagnostic tests would make this device practicable. Dr. Bogoch predicted that it can be applied in a work under a limited budget. Furthermore, the team continues to improve device using cheap available materials.

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