Smartphones transform into diagnostics | D-dimer screening for PE | Lymphopenia signals mortality risk

Dear LabPulse Member,

Smartphones are ubiquitous and for most people have become like an appendage to the human body. So it makes a lot of sense to put them to work in a clinical capacity in addition to their use as a communications tool.

Contributing writer Joseph Constance reported for on the technical capabilities of phones, with apps now available for diagnosing eye disease, evaluating urine at home, and monitoring fertility, among other purposes. Constance takes the temperature of this blossoming business, with interviews of researchers and startups active in the space in a variety of therapeutic areas.

Recent clinical news includes studies showing how basic, widely available tests can play a more significant role in patient management. For example, researchers at McMaster University in Canada reported on a method for evaluating D-dimer levels to help rule out pulmonary embolism (PE) in patients with a low risk for the condition. Using D-dimer results for this purpose could help cut down on the use of computed tomography pulmonary angiography scans, which are expensive and expose patients to radiation, the investigators reported.

In addition, researchers concluded that a low white blood cell count was associated with worse mortality rates in a large study of data from generally low-risk participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The study underscores the value of the traditional, widely available complete blood count, the cornerstone of the hematology IVD market.

According to sister company Kalorama Information, hematology is the second-largest segment of the global IVD market. Kalorama publisher Bruce Carlson recently updated the company's IVD market analysis and forecasts. The global IVD market is currently worth some $69 billion annually, and its dynamics are being shaped in part by trends in diagnostics for cancer and infectious diseases, Carlson reported.

Finally, has been up and running for almost eight months. We've been considering new features that would be of value to our growing base of readers and would like to build a library of pathology cases. Do you have a clinical case that illustrates the power of pathology in patient care? We are offering an honorarium for all accepted cases. Please get in touch if you have a case that we may publish.

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