Selfie videos that can capture blood flow beneath the skin on the face might someday help monitor patients' blood pressure, researchers wrote in a new study published this week in the American Heart Association journal "Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging". These patterns are used to predict blood pressure.
By scanning for the density and motion of blood in the cheeks, nose and forehead, scientists say they can work out blood pressure with 96 per cent accuracy. The report also pointed out that many people are not aware that they are suffering from high blood pressure.
To complete the study, researchers used iPhones loaded with transdermal optical imaging software and recorded two-minute videos of more than 1,000 Chinese and Canadian adults who had normal blood pressure - and then compared systolic, diastolic and pulse pressure measurements from the videos with readings taken using the cuff-based tool familiar from doctors' offices. Developmental psychologist and lead author of the paper Kang Lee told the Quartz that blood pressure readings can be measured through the light emitted by a phone camera. This time, measuring the blood pressure comes easy as posting a selfie on social media. "Once you know how blood concentration changes in different parts of your face, then we can learn a lot of things about your physiology, such as your heart rate, your stress and your blood pressure", said Lee.
The discovery was a result of an accident, Lee was trying to use transdermal optic imaging to develop a way of telling when kids are lying by correlating blood flow to areas of the face with fibbing. Through this method, specially designed technology processes imperceptible facial blood flow changes taken from videos captured using a smartphone camera (where red light is reflected from hemoglobin located from under the skin).
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. The researchers want to make the system work with normal home lighting and to cut short the time needed for the recording to 30 seconds.
"Smartphones are really smart", Lee said.
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".
"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.
Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are exclusively those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association's policy or position.