Tracking Diseases using GoogleMaps on your Smart Phone

This was an interesting news item I came across regarding new methods for tracking diseases via GoogleMaps. The physical application was inspired by the need to instantly check for disease or medical alteration using rapid diagnostic testing (such as testing for pregnancy, high glucose levels, strep throat, blood pressure, etc). Researchers and individuals complain that using such tests (which often require rather tedious applications) are highly prone to human error. Therefore, researchers at the University of California: Los Angeles (UCLA) have developed a physical plugin for one’s phone to assist in one’s rapid diagnostic test via smartphone technology.

According to Elizabeth Moore: “The researchers say the attachment can read almost every type of RDT available; all the user does is insert the RDT strip into the attachment, which is then converted into a digital image via the phone’s built-in camera. An app then determines two things: whether the digital RTD is valid and whether the results are positive or negative. But the team didn’t stop there. They have the reader transmit these results wirelessly to a server for processing, storage, and mapping via Google Maps to track the spread of specific conditions and diseases globally over time.”

What is potentially much more interesting – and certainly much more important on a social and scientific level – is that this will give researchers an improved ability to track diseases and other health trends via Google Maps. The physical application transmits a reading to a database upon initial recognition of one’s test sample after which it is plotted alongside the millions of other contributors as point data. It will also help scientists to understand potential and cause-effect relationships at a much larger scale for combating infectious diseases in the future. If the devices are cost effective and able to be provided on the general market, the public will be granted access to disease trends

To read more about the development visit:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57423047-76/tracking-diseases-using-google-maps-and-cell-phones/

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