Indian researchers have developed a new type of cholesterol test that uses digital photography, instead of blood analysis, to determine a person’s overall levels.
The test, which reveals cholesterol that concentrates in the creases of fingers, could soon provide a cheap new noninvasive way to flag people at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
The new technique, reported in the International Journal of Medical Engineering and Informatics, compares images from a snapshot of a patient’s hands to thousands of others in a large database of photographs of patients whose high cholesterol levels have been recorded from standard blood tests.
A computer program compares the patient's hand image to the others in the database to match it to a specific cholesterol reading for both the amount and type of cholesterol that is circulating in an individual's blood.
Lead researcher N.R. Shanker, of the Sree Sastha Institute of Engineering and Technology, said the new technique would allow clinicians to quickly and easily determine a patient’s cardiovascular risk. Those found to have high levels of “bad” cholesterol could then be referred for more extensive testing.