This smartphone app can detect anaemia

It screens for low haemoglobin by checking the colour of the user's fingernails

For patients wishing to check whether they have anaemia, a quick answer could soon come from a smartphone selfie — of their fingernails, researchers say.

An algorithm developed by US researchers is able to accurately pick up signs of anaemia just from the colour of people's nailbeds, the team report in Nature Communications.

"The bottom line is that we have created a way for anyone to be able to screen themselves for anaemia anytime, anywhere, without the need to draw blood," says senior study author Dr Wilbur Lam, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and paediatrics at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University in Atlanta.

The app Dr Lam and his colleagues are developing uses a form of artificial intelligence to determine levels of haemoglobin by looking at the colour of a person's nailbeds.

To determine how accurately the new app