Stool tool does the business

2 minute read

Is there nothing your smartphone won’t help with?

One of the many things Nostradamus failed to predict was the convergence of smartphone technology with artificial intelligence capabilities in ways that would revolutionise our lives. 

This is never more the case than in the field of healthcare, where such technologies are forging ahead in areas such as melanoma detection and diabetes management. 

And seemingly to prove there is almost no job your phone won’t help with, we learn news of an app that can now analysis a person’s stool samples with expert accuracy. 

According to a validation study published in American Journal of Gastroenterology, thetechnology not only beats the crap out of patient evaluations of their bowel movements, it is at least as good as gastroenterologists at characterising stool specimens. 

Back in the olden days, physicians relied on their patients to use something called the Bristol Stool Scale to describe their bowel motions when evaluating symptoms for diagnosis or judging the effectiveness of medications.  

The results could be a bit hit and miss.  

Enter the magic of the “poop selfie”. 

“Sometimes patients don’t know what is normal or abnormal when trying to characterise a bowel movement. This app takes out the guesswork by using AI, not patient input, to process the images taken by the smartphone,” principal investigator of the Cedars-Sinai study, Mark Pimentel, told media. 

“The mobile app produced more accurate and complete descriptions of constipation, diarrhoea and normal stools than a patient could and was comparable to specimen evaluations by well-trained gastroenterologists in the study.”  

The big advantage of the technology is it removes the patient subjectivity when it comes to describing the specimens. This then helps the doctor to assess the patients’ digestive health. 

The researchers also reckon the technology will be valuable in improving clinical trial results by “reducing the variability of stool outcome measures”. 

All of which goes to show, we have a lot to thank Steve Jobs for. 

If you see something that moves you, flush it down the intertubes to

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