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Noninvasive Device Measures Hemoglobin More Accurately in Individuals with Darker Skin Pigmentations

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 31 Oct 2022
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Image: New tech aims to reduce racial disparities in blood measurements (Photo courtesy of University of Texas at Arlington)
Image: New tech aims to reduce racial disparities in blood measurements (Photo courtesy of University of Texas at Arlington)

Racial disparities in hemoglobin and blood oxygen measurements are an urgent public health issue. The devices presently in use are inaccurate in people with dark skin. Most methods for monitoring hemoglobin require blood samples and expensive equipment. Currently available pulse-oximeters use red-infrared light and are based on technology first designed more than 50 years ago. The available noninvasive spectroscopic methods have a high degree of variability and often are inaccurate in people of color due to differences in skin melanin. There is a significant unmet need for a reliable, noninvasive device to estimate hemoglobin, irrespective of skin color. Now, researchers have demonstrated a new device that measures hemoglobin more accurately in individuals with darker skin pigmentations by using the spectroscopic properties of hemoglobin in the blue-green light spectra.

In a clinical study, a team of researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington (Arlington, TX, USA) along with Shani Biotechnologies LLC (Austin, TX, USA) measured the hemoglobin and oxygen content of 16 healthy volunteers using the newly developed technology. The team compared the results to those obtained using a commercially available pulse-oximeter for accuracy and variability. The findings of the study are encouraging, and the new technology has massive potential to address this clinical unmet need. The researchers intend to develop a wearable device, such as a watch or a monitor, that would read the blood through the skin.

“We have used the green-blue light and have successfully tested the device in preclinical and clinical studies,” said Dr. Vinoop Daggubati of Shani Biotechnologies LLC. “Our group has addressed the issues around shorter wavelength, scattering of light and the impact of skin melanin. The scientific community should open its mind to the concept of green light for these measurements. The Shani device has huge potential to eliminate this racial disparity.”

Related Links:
University of Texas at Arlington 
Shani Biotechnologies 

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