An app to detect anaemia from the colour of your fingernails

6 December, 2018

A new smartphone app can provide a diagnosis of anaemia just from a photo of people’s fingernails, according to a new paper in Nature Communications ( An algorithm created by researchers at Emory University detects anaemia by assessing the concentration of haemoglobin from the colour of people’s fingernail beds, using photos taken on a smartphone. Fingernail colour is a good indicator of overall haemoglobin levels because our nails don’t contain any melanin-producing skin cells that would mask the colour.

An example of how mHealth is on the rise!


Chris Zielinski

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HIFA profile: Chris Zielinski: As a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Global Health, Chris leads the Partnerships in Health Information (Phi) programme at the University of Winchester. Formerly an NGO, Phi supports knowledge development and brokers healthcare information exchanges of all kinds. Chris has held senior positions in publishing and knowledge management with WHO in Brazzaville, Geneva, Cairo and New Delhi, with FAO in Rome, ILO in Geneva, and UNIDO in Vienna. Chris also spent three years in London as Chief Executive of the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society. He was the founder of the ExtraMED project (Third World biomedical journals on CD-ROM), and managed the Gates Foundation-supported Health Information Resource Centres project. He served on WHO’s Ethical Review Committee, and was an originator of the African Health Observatory. Chris has been a director of the World Association of Medical Editors, UK Copyright Licensing Agency, Educational Recording Agency, and International Association of Audiovisual Writers and Directors. He has served on the boards of several NGOs and ethics groupings (information and computer ethics and bioethics). UK-based, he is also building houses in Zambia. chris AT

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