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Parasitologists fight disease in Africa using low-cost iPhone lens

In rural Tanzania, scientists have outfitted an iPhone with an $8 glass lens and an inexpensive flashlight to convert the device into an inexpensive field microscope. Fitted out in such a fashion, the unit enabled researchers to search stool samples for parasite eggs, including the hookworm and round worm.

A press release reports:

Though the iPhone microscope was not as sensitive as a light microscope -- the gold standard for detecting intestinal worms in stool samples -- the researchers believe that, with a few adjustments, it can come very close. According to the researchers, mobile phone microscopes could soon become a valuable diagnostic tool in poor, remote regions where intestinal worms are a serious health problem.

My late father-in-law spent significant time in Africa working in parasitology. He would have been gratified to learn of developments like this latest one just published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

If this kind of development excites you, make sure to check out our related write-up on using the iPhone for urine analysis.

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