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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ruivivar

AI Breathes New Life into Ancient Chinese Tongue Diagnostics

📸 ModelProp / Midjourney

Roll up, roll up, for a fascinating journey into the future of healthcare, where the ancient wisdom of Chinese herbalists meets the cutting-edge technology of artificial intelligence (AI).

This isn't a sci-fi film plot; it's the reality of modern tongue diagnostics, a field experiencing a significant boost thanks to the wonders of AI.

In a fascinating study conducted by researchers from Middle Technical University (MTU) in Baghdad and the University of South Australia (UniSA), tongue images from 50 patients suffering from diabetes, renal failure, and anaemia were captured using a USB web camera and computer. The images were then compared with a database of 9000 tongue images. The result? A staggering 94% accuracy in disease diagnosis compared to laboratory results.

But the innovation doesn't stop there. The system also sends a voicemail specifying the tongue colour and disease to the patient or their chosen health provider via a text message. Now, that's what we call a modern healthcare solution!

This exciting development is a game-changer in the era of remote health monitoring. The ability to diagnose diseases remotely in a safe, effective, easy, painless, and cost-effective way has never been more crucial, especially in the wake of the global COVID pandemic.

The colour of a patient's tongue can reveal a lot about their health. For instance, a yellow tongue is typical in diabetes patients, while a purple tongue with a thick greasy coating often indicates cancer. Acute stroke patients usually present a red tongue that is often crooked.

But it's not just these diseases that can be detected. A 2022 study in Ukraine showed that analysing tongue images of COVID patients via a smartphone could help determine the severity of the infection based on the tongue's colour.

With AI's help, tongue diagnostics has the potential to accurately diagnose more than 10 diseases causing visible changes in tongue colour. So, next time you stick out your tongue, remember: it's not just a funny face, it could be the future of disease diagnosis!

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