News / Health

Mobile Phone App Could Help Detect Down Syndrome

Phone App Could Help Detect Down Syndromei
X
George Putic
April 24, 2014 1:44 PM
Scientists are developing a smartphone app they say can accurately detect Down syndrome in infants soon after birth. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Phone App Could Help Detect Down Syndrome
George Putic
Scientists are developing a smartphone app that they say can accurately detect Down syndrome in infants soon after birth.

Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects about 1-in-1,000 children worldwide, causes physical and intellectual disabilities. Early detection is beneficial to the development of children with the disorder, but that requires sophisticated medical tests not available everywhere.

In developed countries, Down syndrome is often detected during prenatal screenings. But in less-developed countries, these tests are often not available.

Marius Linguraru, a principal investigator at Washington’s Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, said genetic defects can be hard to diagnose after a baby is born.

“In obvious cases, we can just tell by looking at the newborn. But, in subtle cases, this is very difficult, even for a geneticist or experienced dysmorphologist,” Linguraru said.

To help diagnose these cases, researchers at the institute have developed a computer program that detects Down syndrome immediately after birth.

Linguraru says the technology is extremely easy to use. “You take your phone, take a snapshot and the technology … will give us a score of, let’s call it severity, of the child having the syndrome or not.”

The software analyzes the uploaded photo, comparing certain areas of the baby’s face with thousands of stored photos, even taking into account the ethnic background.

Linguraru said the technology has an accuracy rate of about 97 percent, which is about as good as having an experienced dysmorphologist in the delivery room.

Scientists are still testing the technology and are working on a version that will allow direct access to the database from a smartphone, so any pediatrician, nurse or midwife could take a picture and get instant results.

Linguraru also said that using the new software could dramatically reduce the number of children genetically tested for Down syndrome -- two-thirds of whom end up not having the condition -- lowering the emotional stress for parents and costs to the health care system.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid