Now, skin-based cholestrol test
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Three young engineers from Chennai have developed a technique to detect
cholesterol level from snapshots of the skin on the back of the palm.
They have created a large database of images showing varying degrees of
cholesterol levels deposited in fingers.
For diagnostics, a digitised photograph of the back of the palm will be
matched with the database by a software using an algorithm developed by
The trio developed an image-processing computer program that compares the
image from a new patient with the thousands of entries in the database and
matches it to a specific cholesterol reading.
“It can never be accurate like a laboratory test. But it can be used for
diagnosis at home, for early indication,” N R Shankar of the Sree Sastha
Institute of Engineering and Technology in Chennai told Deccan Herald.The
development was reported in the International Journal of Medical Engineering
and Informatics on Thursday.
The technique, devised by Shankar, A Ezhil and S Archana can only detect the
total cholesterol level at the moment. They have approached the department
of Science and Technology for funding, to improve the test further to detect
low density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) and high density cholesterol (good
“The software can be downloaded in an android mobile phone, which in turn
can be used for image-matching. The mobile phone camera or any other
ordinary digital camera can be used for capturing the photo,” he said. This
raises the possibility of this technique being used to develop an
application for android-based phones.
The US FDA had recently approved one skin-based cholesterol detection test,
which employs a different technique. Doctors, however, have questions on the
utility of such tests.