Monday August 26, 2019

Transdermal Optical Imaging Measures Blood Pressure in Smartphone-Captured Facial Videos

Ambient light penetrates the skin's outer layer allowing digital optical sensors in smartphones to visualise and extract blood flow patterns

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Transdermal, Optical Imaging, Blood Pressure
This study shows that facial video can contain some information about systolic blood pressure. Pixabay

In good news for people who have blood pressure (BP) problems, monitoring BP might one day become as easy as taking a video selfie.

Researchers, including one of an Indian-origin, have tested a technology called transdermal optical imaging that measures blood pressure by detecting blood flow changes in smartphone-captured facial videos.

“This study shows that facial video can contain some information about systolic blood pressure,” said Indian-origin researcher Ramakrishna Mukkamala, Professor at the Michigan State University.

Ambient light penetrates the skin’s outer layer allowing digital optical sensors in smartphones to visualise and extract blood flow patterns, which transdermal optical imaging models can use to predict blood pressure.

Transdermal, Optical Imaging, Blood Pressure
In good news for people who have blood pressure (BP) problems, monitoring BP might one day become as easy as taking a video selfie. Pixabay

“High blood pressure is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease — a leading cause of death and disability. To manage and prevent it, regular monitoring of one’s blood pressure is essential,” said study lead author Kang Lee, Professor at the University of Toronto in Canada.

“Cuff-based blood pressure measuring devices, while highly accurate, are inconvenient and uncomfortable. Users tend not to follow American Heart Association guidelines and device manufacturers’ suggestion to take multiple measurements each time,” Lee said.

For the study, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging, the research team measured the blood flow of 1,328 Canadian and Chinese adults by capturing two-minute videos using an iPhone equipped with transdermal optical imaging software.

The researchers compared systolic, diastolic and pulse pressure measurements captured from smartphone videos to blood pressure readings using a traditional cuff-based continuous blood pressure measurement device.

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The researchers used the data to teach the technology how to accurately determine blood pressure and pulse from facial blood flow patterns.

They found that on average, transdermal optical imaging predicted systolic blood pressure with nearly 95 per cent accuracy and diastolic blood pressure with pulse pressure at nearly 96 per cent accuracy.

The technology’s high accuracy is within international standards for devices used to measure blood pressure, according to Lee.

Transdermal, Optical Imaging, Blood Pressure
Researchers, including one of an Indian-origin, have tested a technology called transdermal optical imaging that measures blood pressure by detecting blood flow changes in smartphone-captured facial videos. Pixabay

Researchers videoed faces in a well-controlled environment with fixed lighting, so it is unclear whether the technology can accurately measure blood pressure in less controlled environments, including homes.

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Also, while the study participants had a variety of skin tones, the sample lacked subjects with either extremely dark or fair skin. (IANS)

Next Story

Suffering From Low Blood Pressure? Do an Hour or More of Daily Exercise

Exercise regimens during space flight, followed by saline injections after landing, were sufficient to prevent the condition from occurring

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The study is the first to examine the condition called "orthostatic intolerance" during daily activities when the astronauts returned home. Pixabay

Suffering from low blood pressure? Do an hour or more of daily exercise and stay hydrated to improve the condition and control fainting or dizziness episodes, finds a NASA-funded study on astronauts.

The study is the first to examine the condition called “orthostatic intolerance” during daily activities when the astronauts returned home.

The researchers found that exercise regimens during space flight, followed by saline injections after landing, were sufficient to prevent the condition from occurring.

“Doing an hour or more of daily exercise was sufficient to prevent loss of heart muscle, and when it was combined with receiving hydration on their return, the condition was prevented entirely. We expected to see up to two-thirds of the space crew faint. Instead, no one fainted,” said cardiologist Dr Benjamin Levine from UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Blood Pressure, Daily, Exercise
Suffering from low blood pressure? Do an hour or more of daily exercise and stay hydrated to improve the condition and control fainting or dizziness episodes. Pixabay

A similar condition is also diagnosed in patients as Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), which is predominantly found in women. The dizziness that it causes is life-changing and can be debilitating.

Dr Levine has helped one Dallas patient return to a normal life.

For the study, published in the journal Circulation, the researchers used a small blood pressure cuff on astronauts’ finger to measure blood pressure and every heartbeat.

These measurements were taken during multiple 24-hour periods before, during, and after six months of spaceflight. Twelve astronauts were involved — eight men and four women.

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This treatment is just one of the ways medicine, heart research, and space travel have connected throughout Dr Levine’s work. The successful moon landing in 1969 was an early influence on his career.

The early interest led Dr Levine into space research within the field of cardiology, and he began working with the space shuttle programme in 1991.

“We put a catheter in an astronaut’s heart — it was former UT Southwestern faculty member Dr Drew Gaffney — and sent him into space. It was probably the most expensive right-heart catheterization ever,” Dr Levine reminisced.

“Much of our early research was devoted to understanding why astronauts faint when they return from space. Now, we can prevent it from happening”. (IANS)