Thyroid disease can be diagnosed via an iPhone

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  • Newswise — Falls Church, Virginia. Sep. 22, 2012 –An iPhone and specially-designed image analysis app is able to diagnose and manage the treatment of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, according to new data presented at the 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association (ATA) in Québec City, Québec, Canada.

    Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone. Symptoms may include any of the following: feeling run down, slow, depressed, sluggish, cold, tired, having dry skin and hair, constipation, muscle cramps, or weight gain. Worldwide, the most common cause of hypothyroidism is lack of iodine in the diet. However, in iodine sufficient areas, such as the United States, most cases of hypothyroidism are caused by a condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, in which a patient’s immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid.

    Point-of-care TSH immunochromatographic assays (TSH assays) are widely used to screen for hypothyroidism. However, their acceptability is limited by the semiquantitative nature of the test format and inability to detect low TSH values, underscoring the need for alternative devices to screen for the disease.

    Now, a team researchers led by Randy Polson, PhD, from the University of Utah has developed a device that uses an iPhone’s LED flash, digital camera with collimating lens to optimize illumination and focusing, and a specially-designed app to collect an image of a completed TSH assays and, and convert the image into a quantitative TSH values. Using a light pipe and, they showed that an Apple iPhone was able to detect whole-blood TSH concentrations as low as 0.1 mIU/L.

    About the ATA Annual Meeting
    The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association is held Sept. 19-23, in Québec City, Québec, Canada. This four-day creative and innovative scientific program, chaired by Elizabeth Pearce, MD, Boston Medical Center, and Douglas Forrest, PhD, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, carefully balances clinical and basic science sessions on the latest advances in thyroidology. The ATA meeting is designed to offer continuing education for endocrinologists, internists, surgeons, basic scientists, nuclear medicine scientists, pathologists, endocrine fellows and nurses, physician assistants and other health care professionals.

    About the ATA
    The American Thyroid Association (ATA) is the leading worldwide organization dedicated to the advancement, understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disorders and thyroid cancer. ATA is an international individual membership organization with over 1,600 members from 43 countries around the world. Celebrating its 89th anniversary, ATA delivers its mission through several key endeavors: the publication of highly regarded monthly journals, THYROID, Clinical Thyroidology and Clinical Thyroidology for Patients; annual scientific meetings; biennial clinical and research symposia; research grant programs for young investigators, support of online professional, public and patient educational programs through; and the development of guidelines for clinical management of thyroid disease. Visit for more information.

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