Siemens is working on a procedure that would allow blood to be routinely tested for malaria.
Physicians normally diagnose the tropical disease by using a microscope to search for parasites in blood samples. The problem is that practically every instance of fever in countries where the disease is common is treated with antimalarial drugs, despite the fact that doctors don't even know if the patient is afflicted with malaria.
Conversely, doctors in countries where malaria is rare often don't associate their patients' symptoms with the tropical fever and therefore don't make the correct diagnosis. As reported in the Siemens research magazine Pictures of the Future, scientists from Siemens' research department Corporate Technology (CT) have now developed a method that can detect malaria using information from a standard blood test. The scientists' goal is to implement the new procedure in Siemens' ADVIA 2010 hematology system, which is now being used in many hospitals around the world.
Malaria is one of the world's most devastating tropical diseases. According to the World Health Organization, some 200 million people became afflicted in 2012, and more than 600,000 people died. It's difficult to make a proper diagnosis because the symptoms can have many different causes. Medical lab technicians also need to have a lot of experience to identify malaria parasites under a microscope.
Experts say that only around ten percent of actual cases worldwide are diagnosed as such. Being able to detect the disease through a blood test would improve the situation. The problem up until now was that although malaria does change certain blood attributes, such as the number of platelets, the same is also true of other illnesses.
The idea was to identify a malaria affliction on the basis of a distinct combination of several different blood attributes. Together with colleagues from Siemens Healthcare, CT researchers analyzed anonymous blood data from samples taken from both healthy individuals and malaria patients.
They initially selected parameters that might potentially be related to malaria from the hundreds of measurement values produced by the ADVIA system. They then used statistical methods to search for distinct blood value patterns in the samples taken from malaria patients. In this manner, they developed a formula for searching for these "malaria patterns" in blood sample data.
Their technique can also be adapted to different situations. For example, sometimes it's important to be able to detect malaria even if the number of parasites present in blood is very low - i.e. the triggers must be very sensitive. In other situations, doctors want to be very certain they're making the right diagnosis in order to avoid false alarms. The new formula for malaria diagnosis performs very well with respect to both sensitivity and specificity.
The formula is based on the blood values associated with the most common form of malaria. The researchers are further developing their method in order to be able to distinguish between the seven different types of malaria and to test how well their method diagnoses each of them. They are also analyzing additional blood data sets from different regions around the world with the goal of making their procedure even more robust.
Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner | Siemens InnovationNews
Real-time imaging of lung lesions during surgery helps localize tumors and improve precision
30.07.2015 | American Association for Thoracic Surgery
Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies
29.07.2015 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Physicists from Regensburg and Marburg, Germany have succeeded in taking a slow-motion movie of speeding electrons in a solid driven by a strong light wave. In the process, they have unraveled a novel quantum phenomenon, which will be reported in the forthcoming edition of Nature.
The advent of ever faster electronics featuring clock rates up to the multiple-gigahertz range has revolutionized our day-to-day life. Researchers and...
Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.
Joint BioEnergy Institute study identifies bacterial protein that is key to protecting rice against bacterial blight
A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team...
Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin are one step closer to delivering smart windows with a new level of energy efficiency, engineering materials that allow windows to reveal light without transferring heat and, conversely, to block light while allowing heat transmission, as described in two new research papers.
By allowing indoor occupants to more precisely control the energy and sunlight passing through a window, the new materials could significantly reduce costs for...
Argonne scientists used Mira to identify and improve a new mechanism for eliminating friction, which fed into the development of a hybrid material that exhibited superlubricity at the macroscale for the first time. Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) researchers helped enable the groundbreaking simulations by overcoming a performance bottleneck that doubled the speed of the team's code.
While reviewing the simulation results of a promising new lubricant material, Argonne researcher Sanket Deshmukh stumbled upon a phenomenon that had never been...
23.07.2015 | Event News
10.07.2015 | Event News
25.06.2015 | Event News
30.07.2015 | Life Sciences
30.07.2015 | Trade Fair News
30.07.2015 | Awards Funding