'Selfies' Might Someday Track Your Blood Pressure

TOI "processes imperceptible facial blood flow changes from videos captured with a smartphone camera and uses advanced machine learning to determine blood pressure from the captured signal", explained Kang Lee, PhD, of the University of Toronto, and colleagues.

This could be life-changing technology as high blood pressure can lead to heart diseases among many other ailments. Also, the cohort was racially homogeneous as the majority was of East Asian descent, but "our participants displayed a reasonable degree of skin tone variation and this factor did not impact model prediction accuracy", the authors pointed out.

They added that, if tests of the "exciting" technique continue to be successful, "obtaining blood pressure information with a click of a camera may become reality". "Users tend not to follow American Heart Association guidelines and device manufacturers' suggestion to take multiple measurements each time". This time, measuring the blood pressure comes easy as posting a selfie on social media.

Researchers from the University of Toronto in Canada and the Affiliated Hospital of Hangzhou Normal University in China posted a proof of concept on August 6 on how a patient's blood pressure can be detected by simply capturing a short video using a smartphone app.

The technology works by picking up light reflected from blood vessels behind the skin in the face and using that to measure blood flow.

The average prediction biases were 0.52 mm Hg for pulse pressure, 0.39 mm Hg for systolic BP, and -0.20 mm Hg for diastolic BP, the investigators found.

Lee's team compared the results of the videos with blood pressure readings taken the standard way.

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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".

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

The technology's high accuracy is within global standards for devices used to measure blood pressure, according to Lee. Is the blood pressure cuff next?

Those who fail to reduce their blood pressure by eating healthily, exercising and sleeping may have to rely on medication to keep it down.

"This study shows that facial video can contain some information about systolic blood pressure", Ramakrishna Mukkamala, a Michigan State University professor and Circulation Imaging editorial author, said in a statement.

Technology has the power to do wonders, and this is becoming true.

With this technology, people can have a much cheaper and faster way to track their blood pressure and it could potentially down the number of deaths.

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