Mobile phone ‘can disgnose illness’

Forget calling the doctor: mobile phones will soon be able to diagnose illness for you

Forget calling the doctor: if predictions are right, mobile phones will soon come fitted with software which enables them to diagnose illness on their own.

Revolutionary software being developed by scientists in America and Australia will soon allow patients to cough into their phone, to find out whether they have cold, flu, pneumonia or other respiratory diseases.

Traditionally, health workers have been able to distinguish the different kinds of cough by sound. Now, it is claimed, the new software will do the same, and will save patients a trip to the surgery, or tell them when they are at risk of serious illness.

The software would compare the patient’s cough to a pre-recorded database of coughs, containing the sounds of all respiratory diseases from people of both sexes and various ages, weights and other variables.

Currently the scientists have a database of several dozen patients, but they estimate they will need a total of around 1,000 before the software will be reliable.

The software is currently run on a computer, but according to reports in The Telegraph, it could be rewritten as a smartphone application.

Dr Jaclyn Smith, a doctor of respiratory medicine at the University of Manchester told Discovery.com: ‘If they can find certain parameters to use coughs to diagnose disease that could be fabulous. It could really improve disease diagnosis and help improve people’s access to health care.’ 


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