Director of Emergency and Disaster Medicine at Brown University, Dr. Selim Suner has developed a medical app that can measure anemia intraocularly in just two seconds without taking a blood sample from the patient.
Using Suner’s artificial intelligence-based eMoglobin app, a patient’s level of anemia can be instantly measured using a square photograph taken with a mobile phone. The application, which will be a world first, will save lives in the diagnosis of bleeding emergencies, where every second is crucial.
It is estimated that about one third of the world’s population suffers from anemia. In order to detect anemia, which is manifested by symptoms of weakness, fatigue and paleness, one must go to the hospital, undergo blood tests and wait for the report, which takes about two hours.
However, with the telemedicine app developed by the Turkish medical engineer living in America, anemia can now be measured literally “in the blink of an eye”. The app can be used anywhere in the world once it receives Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and will cut checks from two hours to two seconds.
Dr Suner attended an international conference in Antalya last week and revealed details of the eMoglobin app he developed with his team, recounting his story from Robert College Istanbul to the Faculty of Engineering of Istanbul. Brown University in the United States. he applied to medical school at the same university and now works in the emergency medicine department at Rhode Island Hospital.
During an interview, Dr. Suner explained how he became an emergency medicine specialist in the United States, where he first went to become an engineer. “After Robert College in Türkiye, I went to Brown University in the United States to study engineering. First I studied electrical engineering, then I switched to biomedical engineering. I started my undergraduate degree and worked as a paramedic in the ambulances to cover my daily expenses. , I met the emergency medicine community there and by coincidence my professor asked if anyone one wanted to study medicine. So I raised my hand and entered medical school the next day,” Suner said.
Maintaining that engineering has always been his first love, Dr Suner said: “While working as an emergency medicine assistant, I thought about how I could combine my love of engineering with the medicine. The anemia project started from there. In 80% of emergency patients, blood is definitely drawn and analyzed. Hemoglobin, which indicates whether a patient is anemic or not, is one of the measures analyzed. We thought about measuring hemoglobin “without blood” and quickly and that’s how this project started.”
“First, it was not a phone application. We took intraocular pictures with a digital camera, we evaluated this digital data mathematically and made correlations with the hemoglobin data of the patients. The results were good Phone cameras are now so powerful that these phones have a huge capacity to display megapixels and 16-bit data,” the doctor said.
“That’s why the project turned into a mobile phone app. Anyone who wants to take the test takes a picture of their eye with a mobile phone and after two seconds the hemoglobin concentration is determined,” he said. -he declares.
Dr. Suner explained that they developed the eMoglobin app by comparing measurements taken from patients’ blood with data obtained from photographs of their right and left eyes in studies involving hundreds of patients with the ethics committee approval.
“We compared data taken from the right and left eyes of hundreds of patients. We have 3,500 photographs in this regard. We are currently working with an additional 500 patients. When we look at the data, there is a margin of error of 2 grams per deciliter, which is a very tolerable level. For example, if someone has a hemoglobin level of 10 grams per deciliter in their blood tests, that gives a value between 8 and 12 grams per deciliter in our measurement. This margin of error is sufficient clinically,” he noted.
Saving lives in emergency bleeding
Pointing out that it is very difficult to perform blood tests, especially in developing countries, due to limited laboratories and facilities, the doctor noted that the measurement of hemoglobin level is very important, especially for the diagnosis of nutritional anemia.
With this app, many people’s anemia levels can be measured quickly and interventions can be made accordingly. The fact that the application can be used before requiring hospitalization is also very important. For example, cases of risk of internal bleeding can be immediately treated using the app. The test can be repeated after half an hour, and if there is heavy bleeding, it will be detected in seconds and can reduce hospital costs.
“In order to use it in patients, we need to get FDA approval in the US and we need to request some data. We plan to do that this year (2023). Once we get the data we want , we will file the FDA application. It will be very easy to distribute it worldwide after approval. It will be immediately available for download in the phone application stores and anyone in the world can easily access it, “said explained Dr. Suner.