Smartphone Stroke Detection Breakthrough Announced by Australian Team

The RMIT team reports that the smartphone tool has an accuracy rating of 82% for detecting stroke.
The biomedical engineers at Melbourne’s RMIT University say the smartphone technology can detect facial asymmetry. (Representational image: Pixabay)
The biomedical engineers at Melbourne’s RMIT University say the smartphone technology can detect facial asymmetry. (Representational image: Pixabay)

A new technology that allows smartphones to identify strokes far quicker than existing methods has been developed by researchers in Australia.

The new technology uses artificial intelligence as it scans a patient’s face for symmetry and certain muscle movements, which are called action units. People who have suffered a stroke often have one side of their face looking different from the other.

The biomedical engineers at Melbourne’s RMIT University say the smartphone technology can detect facial asymmetry, potentially identifying strokes within seconds - much sooner and more precisely than current technologies.

Professor Dinesh Kumar, who led the research team, explained to Australian Broadcasting Corp. how the AI-driven device works.

“It takes a video of a person who is doing a smile, and the model determines whether this particular smile is indicative of (a) person who has had a stroke," Kumar said. "We then inform the paramedic or the clinician who is aware of the very high risk of this person having a stroke and, thus, can be treated immediately.”

Professor Dinesh Kumar, who led the research team, explained to Australian Broadcasting Corp. how the AI-driven device works. (Representational image: Pixabay)
Professor Dinesh Kumar, who led the research team, explained to Australian Broadcasting Corp. how the AI-driven device works. (Representational image: Pixabay)

Strokes affect millions of people around the world. They occur when the supply of blood to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, which stops brain tissue from receiving oxygen and nutrients. Experts say that if treatment is delayed by even a few minutes, the brain can suffer permanent damage.

Symptoms of stroke include confusion, speech impairments and reduced facial expressions.

The RMIT team reports that the smartphone tool has an accuracy rating of 82% for detecting stroke. They stress that it would not replace comprehensive medical diagnostic tests for stroke, but instead would guide initial treatment by first responders by quickly identifying patients who need urgent care.

(VOA/SB)

The biomedical engineers at Melbourne’s RMIT University say the smartphone technology can detect facial asymmetry. (Representational image: Pixabay)
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