Tulane BME-IDEA Home Page

Department of Biomedical Engineering Tulane University
500 Boggs Center
New Orleans, LA 70118

Department Chair:  Donald P. Gaver

Supervising Professor:  David A. Rice

BME-IDEA Team 2009-2010 project:

Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Device

Diagnosis of malaria is problematic due to the non-specificity of signs and symptoms of severe malaria. The over-diagnosis of malaria is becoming increasingly prevalent, and administering anti-malarial drugs to patients with other severe diseases delays appropriate treatment and is not cost-effective. Studies on malarial retinopathy have identified several signs highly specific to malaria, including retinal whitening and retinal vessel discoloration. Due to the specificity of retinopathy observed in patients with malaria, we propose a comprehensive low-cost diagnostic tool to aid health care workers in high risk areas with malaria diagnosis. Using a procedure similar to ophthalmoscopy, the retina of a patient may be viewed by projecting a light source onto the retinal area and measuring the levels of reflected light with photodiode photodetectors. The absorption profile of the patient's retina will be analyzed with a programmable integrated circuit. The vessel discoloration associated with cerebral malaria has been shown to absorb very specific wavelengths, thus forming a unique absorption profile. When this signature absorption profile is present, a visual cue (i.e. red or green light) will indicate positive or negative diagnosis. This device will be completely non-invasive and designed to fit snugly over the eye of the patient, providing for accurate readings with minimal interference from outside light sources and performing the diagnosis within seconds. IDEA Team Members: Donald Campbell, Austin Dobbins, Alison Douglas, John Huck, Xun Liu, Joseph Majdi, Josh Thieman
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