SEP 15, 2018 9:02 PM PDT

New Blood Pressure Application

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Image Credit: MayoClinic.org

Published in Scientific Reports, researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) developed a proof-of-concept blood pressure iPhone application that can produce accurate readings using an iPhone without any special equipment.

"By leveraging optical and force sensors already in smartphones for taking 'selfies' and employing 'peek and pop,' we've invented a practical tool to keep tabs on blood pressure," explains study leader and MSU electrical and computer engineering professor, Ramakrishna Mukkamala. "Such ubiquitous blood pressure monitoring may improve hypertension awareness and control rates, and thereby help reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and mortality."

An earlier publication in Science Translational Medicine showed that Mukkamala and the same research team proposed the concept of creating a blood pressure app. Combining smartphone with add-on optical and force sensors, the research team invented a device that rivaled the arm-cuff readings; the standard in most medical settings.

As smartphones continue to advance, the add-on optical and force sensors may no longer be needed. The ‘peek and pop’ is now the standard in many iPhones including some androids which was formerly is available to users finding a way to open functions and apps with a simple push of their finger. The research team believes that if progression continues the smartphone application could be available in late 2019. "Like our original device, the application still needs to be validated in a standard regulatory test," says Mukkamala. "But because no additional hardware is needed, we believe that the app could reach society faster."

On an international scale, the app could serve as a game-changer. Even though high blood pressure is treatable with lifestyle changes and medication, roughly 20 percent of people with hypertension have their condition under control. “This invention gives patients a convenient option and keeping a log of daily measurements would produce an accurate average,” explains Mukkamala.

This research was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.

Source: Michigan State University

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
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