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Cómo detectar gusanos intestinales con un iPhone y mejorar la vida de millones de personas

19 marzo 2013 - 20:22 - Autor:

Un grupo de científicos canadienses ha usado un teléfono iPhone y una lente de cámara para diagnosticar gusanos parasitarios intestinales en una zona rural de Tanzania de una manera sencilla y barata: mirando las heces de los niños con el teléfono como si fuera un microscopio, en lo que se considera una de las primeras ocasiones que se ha utilizado esta tecnología de campo para combatir de manera efectiva problemas que afectan a la población mundial.

La anquilostomiasis, las infecciones por anquilostomas (un parásito nematodo del intestino) es muy común en la mayoría de zonas subtropicales y tropicales; y afecta alrededor de mil millones de personas a nivel mundial. En los países en desarrollo la enfermedad lleva a la muerte de muchos niños al incrementar su riesgo de infecciones, causando también anemia crónica y malnutrición.

Pero el problema principal de estos países es que no tienen acceso a instalaciones adecuadas para los exámenes médicos, pues un diagnóstico precoz es fundamental para reducir significativamente la incidencia de la enfermedad. El Dr. Isaac Bogoch, un especialista en medicina interna canadiense, descubrió una forma inteligente de hacer frente a estos desagradables parásitos con un truco extraordinariamente simple.

Para ello, transformaron un teléfono móvil en un microscopio temporal, gracias al montaje de una lente esférica (o de bola) de 3 mm sobre la cámara de un iPhone 4S, usando a una cinta de doble cara con un agujero perforado (que es donde se coloca la lente de bola) para que quedara separada 1 mm de la lente del teléfono.

Mediante la iluminación con una linterna, las imágenes ampliadas de una muestra se pueden ver en la pantalla del teléfono móvil con la función de zoom digital, logrando un aumento equivalente a un microscopio de 50-60 aumentos.

Los científicos utilizaron los microscopios del teléfono móvil para evaluar 200 muestras de heces de niños infectados con gusanos intestinales y compararon los resultados frente a los obtenidos utilizando microscopios convencionales. Y con el iPhone hackeado lograron una tasa de detección precisa del 69.4%, no suficiente para erradicar el problema, pero sin duda un comienzo del todo prometedor.

El Dr. Bogoch ha publicado su trabajo de investigación en la revista American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene [PDF] y estima que el microscopio del iPhone se puede “montar fácilmente en menos de 5 minutos a un coste de aproximadamente 15 dólares americanos”. ¡Bien visto, Dr. Bogoch!

Fuente y fotos: Mobile Phone Microscopy for the Diagnosis of Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections: A Proof-of-Concept Study

Vía Core77

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Y ya me dirás tú, hablando de lo barato que es, a ver cuanta gente en Tanzania con un iphone hay

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