Health Care

A Selfie Could be a Future Blood Pressure Monitor

Utilizing machine learning algorithms, the group can then translate these measurements into blood pressure readings, readings they say are accurate about 95 % of the time.

But many patients often can not be bothered to use the inflatable arm cuffs or other cumbersome devices, scientists say.

You may soon be able to monitor your blood pressure with the camera on your phone.

How does this technology work?

Not so fast: Selfie videos used in the research were taken in "a well-controlled environment with fixed lighting, so it's unclear whether the technology can accurately measure blood pressure in less controlled environments, including homes", researchers said. These numbers will be used to compare the difference in the color of bounced light from the smartphone camera. They found that on average, transdermal optical imaging predicted systolic blood pressure with almost 95 percent accuracy and diastolic blood pressure with pulse pressure at almost 96 percent accuracy.

High blood pressure can be a warning sign towards a heart attack or stroke, but most of the patients with hypertension are unaware of it.

The teams have published a proof of concept that states, taking a short video of your face could, in fact, track your blood pressure. "Users tend not to follow American Heart Association guidelines and device manufacturers' suggestion to take multiple measurements each time", Lee said.

Transdermal optical imaging measures blood pressure by detecting blood flow changes in smartphone-captured facial videos.

To ensure the accuracy of the data gathered, 900 pictures must be taken in 30 seconds.

And the software has not been tested on people with very dark or very light skin, Dr Lee said, although it has worked on people with "a variety of skin tones".

To test the technology's blood pressure predictions, Lee and his colleagues tried it out on more than 1,300 Canadian and Chinese adults with normal blood pressure.

Nearly half of Americans suffer from high blood pressure, some unwittingly, the heart health organization said - meaning the innovation could make a big impact.

And the American Heart Association says there are around 103million people in the USA with the condition.

Having high blood pressure puts extra strain on the veins and arteries, heart, eyes, brain and kidneys.

People who are overweight, over 65, don't eat enough fruit and vegetables, don't exercise enough or smoke or drink are at a higher risk of the condition.

"This study shows that facial video can contain some information about systolic blood pressure", Dr. Mukkamala wrote "If future studies could confirm this exciting result in hypertensive patients and with video camera measurements made during daily life, then obtaining blood pressure information with a click of a camera may become reality".

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